During your travels, it is easy to become so preoccupied with sharing your travel stories online that you forget to protect yourself against cyber threats. When it comes to cybersecurity, most people associate it with safe cyber practices at home, but practicing safe online behavior is just as important when you’re traveling. The more you travel and access public networks, the more you expose yourself to cyber risks, and because of the difference in data protection laws between countries, it is important to find effective security practices to enact.
With that in mind, here are some tips to help keep your data secure when you travel:
Update your mobile software
The advantage of regularly updating your mobile software and apps is that it eliminates potential attack platforms by improving the device’s ability to detect malware. This may include fixes for security bugs, removal of outdated features, and fixes for security holes. This step is particularly important in today’s digital age as a high percentage of smartphones have been shown to be potentially at risk of security compromise even with a simple text message.
Aside from keeping your operating system updated, regular patch management is another important step to help you stay secure when using your device.
Use biometric protection to keep your mobile device locked
Getting into the habit of locking your device can prove to be an effective defense against stolen phones, especially when moving from one place to another during travels. Biometric protection such as fingerprint recognition and iris scanning add an extra layer of security for your devices.
Complex passwords used to be the only secured way of automated authentication, but it has started to look less attractive as a security solution as certain devices lack the ability to process or store such passwords.
Disable auto connecting to public wireless networks
When traveling, people often use readily available public Internet to post updates on social media, or to log into their personal emails. However, most public connections are unsecured, which makes them an easy target for hackers. All the sensitive information you enter while on public Wi-Fi could be stolen if the connection is not secure, so it is important to disable settings that automatically connect your device to public networks at all times.
And most importantly, only connect to wireless networks that you can trust.
Turn on remote wiping
In case of loss or theft, this security feature allows you to remotely disable, lock, or completely erase data on a mobile device through a factory reset. Remote wiping your data prevents unauthorized users from accessing any sensitive data stored in your mobile device in the event that it gets stolen or misplaced. Some devices can also be set to perform an automatic factory reset after a certain number of unsuccessful attempts at unlocking the device.
Turn off location tracking
Having a GPS-capable device is ideal for most travelers—it helps you navigate unfamiliar places and keep you informed of traffic reports in your area. Still, enabling location features can also put you at risk of cyber-attacks. Sharing local information can enable cyber criminals to detect location in real-time, and even determine the identities of mobile device users.
Gadgets have become invaluable companions for travelers around the globe. But with the increased usage of these devices, the possibility of cybersecurity breaches is also ever-present, which is why it is crucial to take the necessary steps to keep yourself secure from any potential cyber-attacks.
Alex Gomez is a social media professional who dabbles as a freelance tech writer and photographer. This gadget and car enthusiast also plays video games and keeps himself updated on technology news in his spare time.