By guest blogger Brad Smith at TurnOnVPN
If you are a jet setter extraordinaire, you by now know that cybersecurity is critical. The internet made the world a global village and traveling all over the world today is nothing like it used to be before the advent of the internet. If you travel for either work or leisure, you cannot do without the internet to either communicate with family or with the office. Working from an exotic beach in the Caribbean or in Dubai is possible just like you were in the office.
Most countries have Wi-Fi, so wherever you go, you are almost assured of an internet connection. The one thing you must remember however before you log into that free Wi-Fi is the question, how safe are you? Hackers are everywhere and they become more daring every day. There are several cybersecurity tips you need to consider while you hop from country to country and Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi:
Lockdown your devices
Most devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones have inbuilt security settings that allow you to lock the gadget with either a fingerprint or a PIN number. Lock all your devices and change your PIN from what you use regularly. If your gadgets get lost, this will be your first defense line against a possible security breach.
Avoid free wi-fi
Free Wi-Fi is very tempting for most travelers, but you must realize that it is very vulnerable. If a Wi-Fi network is unencrypted, do not use it, but instead ask your current hotel about its security before you connect to the internet. Some luxury hotels and villas are cybersecurity conscious and provide very secure internet connectivity.
Disable your auto-connect setting that allows your device to connect automatically. This means that every time you log in, you have to do so manually. It protects you by restricting access to potentially dangerous free Wi-Fi.
Switch off location sharing and turn off bluetooth connectivity
It is not uncommon for travelers to continuously update their location on their social media pages. This opens up a potentially dangerous situation back home. When you update your location, you give criminals your location and they might either try to rob you in your hotel room after figuring you are not in. They could also rob your home once they discover you are away. Make sure you post very limited information online about where you are to safeguard your security.
Bluetooth connectivity is a potential threat too if left on. A hacker can easily use your phone as a connection and gain access to your accounts. Use this feature while traveling and prevent a possible cyber threat.
Use a good anti-virus and update your operating system
The best way to keep safe from potential hackers is to employ the use of a good anti-virus as protection. A trusted brand will effectively protect you while you also make sure you update this anti-virus as new versions are always available. Ensure the antivirus software includes defense against any new threats. You need to keep your operating system updated. This also means the apps on your phone, taking extra caution, and ensuring all your apps, especially financial apps are up to date.
Install a VPN
You must install a VPN, steering clear of those that purport to be free. If you handle sensitive data, store the data in the cloud, but not on any device. Access to the cloud is possible via the VPN, which provides you with a safe connection to the cloud, albeit anonymously. Downloading a good VPN will protect you when using the internet in case anyone is listening in. A VPN unblocks websites and bypasses censorship in countries that have internet censorship, allowing you to log into the internet safely anywhere in the world.
Avoid suspicious links in emails
Phishing is a very common form of cyber threat. Avoid clicking on links in emails, even if they seem to originate from a legit source. Hackers impersonate legal entities such as banks and send you an email with a link. Once you click on that link, it redirects you to a fake link which then proceeds to ask for your login details.
Once you log in the hacker has all your log in details to your email accounts and social media accounts. The hacker may as well proceed to wipe out your bank accounts.
If you travel all over the world, chances are that you will be very vulnerable to cyber threats, so you must be extra vigilant. Locking down your devices, switching off your auto-connect and bluetooth connectivity are some of the ways you can avoid hackers and auto-download of viruses from free Wi-Fi spots, which you should avoid completely. A VPN is the way to go as it creates a secure connection to the internet and bypasses security censors and unblocks websites.
Brad Smith is a technology expert at TurnOnVPN, a non-profit promoting a safe, secure, and censor-free internet. He writes about his dream for a free internet and unravels the horror behind big techs.
#TurnOnVPN is a non-profit organization focusing on a free and unimpeded internet for all. They take part in numerous online events, aimed at promoting a safe, secure, and censor-free Internet. Learn more at www.turnonvpn.org/blog/.0