Traveling can be the perfect way to briefly escape from the problems associated with the everyday life, such as stress, work, relationship issues, health inconveniences, and more. On top of that, it can be the most appropriate way of getting to know yourself and get in touch with countries, communities, gastronomy, and traditions different than what you have come to know so far.
Sometimes, people are blessed with a family, an ever-present partner or even a pet as companionship for these trips. However, if you don’t have that significant other (s) in your life, then don’t get sad! Traveling alone is just as fun as doing it with people, as you get to know yourself, know new people and establish personal relationships on levels you are not accustomed to.
But, when traveling solo, you need to be extra careful about your safety as a whole – and internet security is no exception. You’re the only person in charge of your safety and security everywhere; in the hotel, taxi, restaurant, and on the internet – everywhere. For that, we decided to come up with some useful tips to strengthen your privacy online and data security – while traveling solo. Here we go:
Don’t forget your online safety
We know that you are eager to start your journey already; but before you leave to get to know that beautiful island with the astonishing beaches and climate, or that little house in the prairies, or to that mountain you have wanted to climb for several years now, take a good look at this guide.
Recent studies demonstrate that numerous online security breaches and events occur when the victim is traveling. That is not a coincidence, as a) the person is leaving their home and their lives behind for a brief period; and b) he/she would be connecting to free Wi-Fi hotspots at the airport, hotel, or café.
Possible security risks
Pay attention, because you may find many of the things that you will read here harmless, or think that the likelihood of them happening to you is so low that it isn’t worth your time. But believe us: when someone injects a virus into your computer or snoops in your data and generated content online, you may regret your lack of awareness.
When you see spam messages from a nation you recently visited, or you get your laptop and USB keys searched at borders, you may be a victim of spying and data privacy breaches. To avoid these unwanted scenarios, consider these tips.
1. Protect your data with a VPN
If you are going to browse the web, whether it is at home or on a trip – especially on a trip, in fact -, you would benefit from extra privacy and security. There are numerous ways of achieving those attributes today, but the best and most convenient of them all is hiring the services of a VPN provider.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and it is a conglomerate of technologies and protocols that help you encrypt the content you generate online to avoid prying eyes, hackers, and cybercriminals from having access to it. It takes your IP address and masks it, giving you a new, temporary one to connect to any country you select.
Since anyone would be able to see what you are doing online, international spammers, advertisers or hackers will not be able to see your real IP address, and their actions against you will be significantly diminished.
Savvy tourists acquire VPN services every time, as they provide a sense of anonymity and security that becomes necessary when someone is on a trip. Remember, you don’t know much about the nation you are visiting, and you are not familiarized with the crimes and shady acts performed there.
2. Leave your data at home
If you can protect your data wherever you go – whether it is with a VPN, a proxy, a Smart DNS or any other similar service – then you probably will be ok. But another method that can work is not getting hackers or spies anything to work.
You should leave your data at home in any case you can. Thankfully, technology is well-suited to help travelers achieve a better sense of online security; because, for example, it allows people to store all sorts of things in the cloud.
If you can, leave your family photos, documents, files, and other relevant resources in a reliable cloud storage account such as Dropbox and, before you embark on your journey, erase the local copy after deactivating the sync service.
Perform all your updates and edits to the cloud-based documents and copies if you are going to be away for a significant period. After that, reactivate the local cache when you go home.
3. Avoid public Wi-Fi or choose official ones
You probably know this by now, but in case you need us to tell you, Wi-Fi is an excellent thing to have at hand, especially if you are out of the country. Suppose you have just arrived at your new destination, and you need to communicate with your family and friends to let them know you landed safely. The airport’s Wi-Fi connection would allow you to do just that.
However, you shouldn’t establish a connection with these hotspots unless you have to, because they might be infected with all kinds of malicious things to your online security. There may be viruses around the network, there can be hackers trying to intercept the signal and steal data from anyone connected, and there can even be crypto miners ready to pounce and use your device as a money-making machine without your permission.
In all cases, try to avoid free Wi-Fi and even Bluetooth technology. If you have to use a public network, try to connect to an official one. The best thing you can do for your online safety is getting a data plan for the duration of your trip.
4. Use HTTPS
The HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the technology that allows us to watch websites anywhere we go. However, it is not particularly secure, as it has been associated with security threats from the moment of its inception.
Instead, the HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) provides a safer environment to browse the web. If you are going to use a page that requires authentication, make sure that it has TLS-enabled HTTPS protection. That way, you can avoid fake digital certificates or main in the middle attacks.
5. Try to avoid social media
We can understand the social media revolution: engaging with people from different locations, letting them see a picture of you wearing your most attractive smile, and posting exciting content can be very fun.
However, when you are traveling alone with no one to be by your side in the case of an emergency, it would be best for you not to share too much in your accounts. Try to explicitly avoid letting people know your exact location because you don’t know who might be using that information to harm you.
If you let the world know every city you are visiting and the exact moment or hour in which you are doing it, you may create a security threat for yourself because criminals are aware of your every move: they may know that you are not in your hotel room and your stuff is unprotected at a given time. Consequently, you would be surprised if you hear how many robberies happen because of social media extreme exposure.
6. Lock your devices
The best thing about technology is that most devices come with security measures in case they fall into the wrong hands. For example, smartphones, laptops, and tablets are suitable for locking them with a PIN number, a key, or even fingerprint ID.
If you are going to travel alone, set up these security features on all the devices you own and, while on your journey, continually change the PIN numbers to increase your security and make life harder for criminals.
In conclusion, traveling is a fascinating activity that you should enjoy in all circumstances, whether you are with your partner, your family, your dog, or even solo. However, if you are going to choose the last option, make sure to lock up your cyber world and data security with the tips discussed in this piece. Have a safe journey!