Whether it’s a recreational trip or a high-priority business meeting, traveling is a fun activity, but there are several nuisances you have to deal with behind the curtains. One thing that most travelers tend to ignore is their data privacy and online security, especially when moving overseas.
Thanks to the latest development in the field of the internet, the quick ascent of hackers, phishers, and data snoopers have become one of the biggest risks. Cybercriminals can easily breach the online security of an out-of-office employee to steal sensitive information.
That’s why cyber-experts always recommend using the best VPN for traveling abroad. This tool encrypts your web traffic, anonymizes your location, and makes it impossible for hackers to penetrate your confidential information.
If you’re planning a trip abroad, be aware of these common places where hackers can compromise travelers during the holiday.
Charging smartphones in public places
Most users don’t even think twice before putting their phones on charging at shared public USB stations. By doing so, they unknowingly engage in risky practices that make them prone to hackers and cyber-attacks.
Cybercriminals can subtly tamper or install malware with USB ports at airport lounges, train stations, or hotel rooms. It’s recommended to keep your phone charged to the maximum or carry a power bank.
Using a shared public Wi-Fi
As soon as travelers land in another country, the first thing they look for is free internet access. Public Wi-Fi is a free facility available to all, but using them is a risky pursuit.
The majority of international travelers tend to minimize data roaming costs by using public Wi-Fi networks. However, hackers can easily establish a con Wi-Fi network in popular public places to lure users and steal their personal information.
Paying utility bills while traveling
Utility bills’ deadline is the least you would expect while traveling abroad. However, you should think twice while paying bills online, as hackers can snoop on your data through hotel room Wi-Fi connections. Carrying paper bills can also be risky as it carries your personal information. If you have sensitive documents with you during travel, ensure they are kept safe.
Using a PC without a firewall and antivirus program
Cybercriminals do not always target your smartphones. You should always install a paid antivirus program and other security tools like VPN while carrying your PC or laptop abroad.
Using credit cards while shopping
Low on paper cash in another country? Think twice about using your credit/debit card while shopping. Restaurants and stores with weak security measures on their POS systems can be a potential hunting ground for cybercriminals who can easily extract your card’s information.
If it’s too urgent to do a paperless transaction, prefer your credit card as it’s usually more secure. Also, avoid using ATMs installed at odd places. Instead, look for those ATMs installed in a bank or within airports to curtail the risk of data scraping by skimmers.
Using shared computers and networks
The risk of digital data theft has reached far ahead of tech security systems. Online activities on shared networks and public computers are easily targeted by hackers. Avoid using public networks and systems at internet cafes or hotels while traveling.
Not utilizing your loyalty rewards
Don’t take your loyalty program rewards for granted. Instead, frequently check them for any suspicious activity. In 2015, hackers compromised a staggering 10,000 United and American Airlines loyalty accounts, using stolen rewards to avail of free tickets and upgrades. Always use subtle passwords and turn on double-factor authentication for your data safety.
Posting your travel updates on your social media
Posting updates and pictures of your recreational shenanigans abroad can lead into the wrong hands very easily. So whether it’s a famous milestone you achieved or your dream destination you visited, avoid sharing it on your social media too soon. To be on the safe side, share your travel details only with your close ones, and if you really want to brag, post your fave pics and activities online when you are back home safely.
Enabling location tracking of your device’s
Location tracking by your smartphone can also be a risky business. It can leak your travel history and data to hackers. Therefore, disable the location services on your smartphone for social media apps, especially when you travel abroad.
Setting one password for all accounts
Another risky practice most users do is setting the login password for their every account. If you are one of them, it’s necessary to make amends. The right way to go is to set unique, long, strong, and subtle passwords for different accounts. That’ll minimize the risk of getting all your accounts hacked if one of them is compromised. Moreover, change your passwords frequently and don’t stick to one.
Saving receipts and ticket stubs
Receipts, boarding passes, and ticket stubs may look like innocuous keepsakes of your memorable trips. However, they pose more risk than you actually realize. Skilled data snoopers can even steal your personal information through these mementos and use them to hack your financial accounts and other sensitive information.
Therefore, keeping these keepsakes in a secure place is recommended, or it would be better if you just take a pic of them and shred them afterward.
Carrying personal information like ID and SSN cards
Your vacation can be completely ruined if you lose your wallet, and if you have something more important than money, irreversible damage is done. To prevent any thief from getting your personal information inside your wallet, purge it completely and of everything that carries such information, and only keep an ID, credit card, or cash before you hit the road.
Leave any sensitive documents that you usually keep in your wallets, like birth certificates or insurance cards at home. Don’t keep your Social Security card with your as well while traveling.
Installing suspicious apps
Avoid downloading any apps that come up based on your location while traveling until it is unavoidable. Any newly downloaded app can increase your chances of exposure to a cyber attack. Also, some apps give different experiences on browsers and mobile to the user sometimes, so be aware of that.