Cyber-Safety Travel Tips
When traveling, how often do you consider your cyber-safety? A search reveals many articles about travel safety tips, but they neglect digital safety. There are many ways in which we can fall victim to a cybercrime. We can connect to an unknown open WiFi source, or leave NFC enabled on our devices. Our passports or credit cards can be accessed by RFID, and our Instagram posts can make us an easy target for home robberies. In 2017, failing to protect yourself from cybercrime is a recipe for disaster. Today, we’re sharing some cyber-safety travel tips that will help you enjoy your vacation without fear of being a victim of a cybercrime!
Cyber-Safety Travel Tip: Internet Access
To avoid problems with connecting to WiFi, consider investing in a local SIM card. Most countries have ‘tourist’ packages that provide you with internet service. While it may cost more, it will enable you to avoid insecure WiFi. If you must connect to WiFi in a foreign country, stick with reputable providers such as your hotel. While it can be tempting to connect to any open WiFi, they are easier to hijack by criminals.
For extra security, consider a ‘burner’ phone – a phone that you remove personal data from and only use for internet access. That way, if you lose the device or it is stolen, there’s no personal info other than a search history. If you have no burner, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN helps by routing your traffic through encrypted servers. Some VPNs include TunnelBear, Hotspot Shield, and Private Internet Access. Also, disable Bluetooth and never use it in a foreign country – it’s a very insecure connection method.
Cyber-Safety Travel Tip: Credit Cards/Passport
Technology like RFID tap-to-pay makes life easier, but it enables access to others. Potential thieves will use RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) to steal your credit card information. From there, they create duplicates of your card to use them to buy things. While banks and credit card providers will refund you, it’s easy to avoid. Canadian Passports now also include RFID in them. Potential hackers can access information including basic personal information and photo. To protect against data theft through RFID, consider a RFID blocking pouch or wallet. These simple items look no different than any other wallet or passport case but are lined with a radio blocking material. This prevents the device from sending out a signal, and prevent devices from access them.
Cyber-Safety Travel Tip: Social Media
One of the most forgotten cyber-safety travel tips is around our use of social media. When we travel, we often share our experiences with others through Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. While this is a great way to show off things to friends and family, it can lead to problems. There are cases of criminals using social media to target theft opportunities. Potential thieves can see that you are posting away from home. This makes your home a target while you’re away. Geolocated posts on Instagram or Twitter also share your location in real-time. This means that if you’re in a less common area, it could make you an easy target. To avoid these social media problems, consider posting content later. You’ll still be able to share your travels, but it won’t put you in the position of being a target.
The best cyber-safety travel tip is to be cautious. Much like keeping an eye on your surroundings, do things to protect your digital security as well. While these stories may not be common, they do occur. Practice safe digital security as much as you would physical security.