Cybersecurity can be extremely difficult to maintain whether you’re at home or abroad, but it’s important to remember that travel can add extra challenges which require further layers of security.
Before you leave for your trip, take some time to read and implement the safety measures below.
Protect Your Passwords
Passwords provide a line of defense that should not be taken lightly.
- Replace passwords before and after your trip. While this may seem like overkill, being proactive now could save you time and worry later. The Federal Communications Commission advises travelers on this, saying “Your mobile phone and other electronic devices may be vulnerable to malware if you connect with local networks abroad. Update your security software and change your passwords on all devices on your return home.”
- Reevaluate the safety measures for your devices. Is your phone password “1234”? Do you just swipe to access your tablet? Consider PIN numbers, fingerprint scanners and other such protection methods. Think about any measures that can help to ensure your valuable information is at least a little bit harder to get into.
Update Your Software
Don’t let expired software make it easy for your devices to get hacked. While nothing is foolproof, double-checking your operating systems, sensitive apps and antivirus software could be vital.
- Update antivirus software on your devices – if you don’t have any, it would be wise to get some.
- Operating systems and sensitive apps should be current. Using the latest versions of apps and systems can give you greater protection. Norton writes: “Just like your anti-virus software, you should keep your operating system as current as possible.” They add that this process and updates should also apply to apps. Any apps that you use for finances or business should earn a little extra care when it comes to security.
Know Public Privacy Problems
Yes, good Wi-Fi might be a rarity on your trip abroad. Slipping into a coffe shop to borrow their internet for some work emails may sound tempting, but it also comes with risks. Be wary of what you let public networks and devices get access to.
- Think twice about your settings. Limit both location sharing and Bluetooth use and don’t allow auto-connect for Wi-Fi. You may be used to having everything turned on for quick directions or wireless access to music, but keeping these settings open just makes it easier for your cybersecurity and personal space to be compromised. Use Bluetooth, location sharing and public Wi-Fi carefully if you must.
- Ask about security protocols and avoid unencrypted networks. For example, talk to your hotel about their Wi-Fi network’s safety measures before you go online.
- Avoid accessing sensitive data or accounts while connected to public networks. Show some caution before checking your bank balance or taking a look important work files.
Consider Extra Precautions
The necessary precautions can depend on a variety of factors such as the purpose of your visit and the location you’re going to. If you’d like to take extra measures, consider researching cybersecurity laws in your destination and backing up your files before you travel.
Have you ever had any cybersecurity issues while abroad? Do you make sure to take precautions when you travel? Was this list of tips helpful? Let us know in the comments below, or via Facebook and Twitter.
Written for Passport Health by Katherine Meikle. Katherine is a freelance writer and proud first-generation British-American living in Florida, where she was born and raised. She has a passion for travel and a love of writing, which go hand-in-hand.