When traveling for work or leisure, we often remember to secure everything else but our data. Although we try to keep our mobile devices and laptops safe, we forget that cybercriminals can still intercept our personal information over an unsecured Wi-Fi connection or public computer. Loss of personal or critical data can also happen while abroad, which could jeopardize important projects. In this article, we’re going to touch on a few ways to keep your data secure while traveling.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
When you consider the high cost of mobile data, free Wi-Fi seems like a godsend while you’re traveling. Unfortunately, it isn’t always the case. For starters, not all public hotspots are encrypted, so any data you transmit on them can be intercepted by cybercriminals.
In addition, criminals often create fake Wi-Fi connections in public spaces, which they then use to harvest private data. To avoid falling prey to such schemes, try to avoid public Wi-Fi. Instead, ask your local carrier for a USB Wi-Fi adapter to use on your trip. Alternatively, use a local carrier when abroad.
Avoid Cyber Cafes
Public computers, such as those found in cyber cafés, pose an even greater threat to your data than public Wi-Fi. You never know whether they have pre-installed viruses, malware, or keyloggers. As a result, always avoid using them as much as possible.
However, if you must use one, use it for general browsing. And while you’re at it, use incognito mode, such as Private Browsing in Firefox. This way, the browser deletes your cookies and browsing history when you’re done. And whatever you do, never log into your social media, bank, or PayPal account.
Use Two-Step Verification
Regardless of your diligence, your email, social media, or online banking accounts can still be hacked. What’s more, these accounts are probably linked. So, when a hacker breaks into one, they can often access the rest. For this reason, many accounts come with two-step verification as an extra security option.
Instead of using only a password to authenticate your identity, a two-step process requires another proof of identity, usually a fingerprint or a Personal Identification Number (PIN). Because of this added layer of protection, a hacker cannot access an account after acquiring the right username and password. So, whether you’re traveling or not, secure all your accounts with this form of verification.
Backup and Wipe Your Data
When traveling on business, keeping important data in your laptop’s hard drive is never a good idea. If you misplace or damage your laptop, the data will be at risk. To secure any sensitive information from misplacement or theft, backup your drive onto the cloud, and then wipe the drive clean. When you need the information later, simply restore it from the cloud back to your computer. In the case of a damaged laptop or hard drive, you could always use a service like Secure Data Recovery to salvage any lost data.
Enable Device Tracking
Regarding lost or stolen devices, you must first find them before recovering any data they contain. Fortunately, all smartphones today have a tracking feature with which you can locate, lock, ring, or wipe all data from your phone. Laptops too are traceable, but only if you first install third-party apps in some.
If you want to enjoy your trip, make sure you secure more than your person and luggage. Remember to also secure your data - an easy thing to do if you understand the basics.