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4 Ways To Protect Your Data While Travelling

Contributed by Thomas Ujj
01 July, 2015

Traveling today is so quick and painless compared to the not so distant past. Only one thing has remained constant: the threat of scams and theft. All that has changed is that thieves have evolved and become a new problem to deal with. You are now more likely to get your credit card information stolen off your laptop or through a Wi-Fi network then the traditional pickpocket, but that is the consequence of the technological world we live in today.

Sure, you may have heard of identity theft, or maybe you have even been a victim before, but that doesn’t mean that you are fully protected against it. Let us take a quick look at 4 ways you can help protect your data while on the road.

1.    Passwords!

Yes, it might sound pretty unoriginal or even repetitive at this point, but the fact remains that the best way to keep your data safe is by having a password on everything! Passwords have always been a slight nuisance to people, but when weighing the benefits of having one versus not having one, it’s easy to see who wins. While the modern data thief can work his way around your passwords with a little more sophisticated technology, what is stopping the average pickpocket from stealing your purse and thus having access to all your sensitive data via a smart phone without a password?

Don’t forget to create a strong password that can’t be easily guessed! Learn more about making good passwords here.

2.   Anti virus/Firewall

While an anti virus or firewall may also be considered “old fashioned” in terms of internet security, how much better does it get then a program dedicated to checking who might be snooping around your things? Like a certified bodyguard, a firewall protects your data from being compromised, while a antivirus makes sure to keep your computer clean even if you happen to unknowingly corrupt it. Make sure to keep these updated as new threats are literally emerging every day. Check out the list of best providers here.

3. Beware Open/Hotel Wifi Networks

On your travels, there will be plenty of instances where you see a “Free WIFI” network pop up on your device. While it may seem relatively harmless, the fact that anyone can operate a wireless access point anywhere in the world should make us all think twice about connecting. For instance, after a quick scan of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport’s wireless networks in 2008, over 20(!) wireless networks were found to be fake, used for stealing unsuspecting user’s data. Also, make sure you are connecting to secure networks with a password that isn’t publicly shared (i.e restaurant has the Wi-Fi password on the menu). For a better look and some tips on Wi-Fi network security, check out Lifehacker’s piece on public Wi-Fi networks.


4. VPN service

You might have heard of a VPN service before, but as a way to watch region-locked content such as Netflix or HBO Go. Well the added effect of using a VPN is a private “tunnel” between your device and the VPN server, thus protecting your data from any malicious outsiders. A VPN goes a step further then a firewall and keeps the bad out, completely. As mentioned earlier with unsecured wireless networks, your device is an open book on a network if it isn’t protected well enough. VPN’s will run you a few dollars a month (most have a free trial), and give you the aforementioned region unlocking as well. For a list of best VPN services, check out BestVPN.com.

In a world where data security is often overlooked or swept under the rug, we tend to forget what our most important belongings actually are. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, following these tips will certainly increase the security of your devices and give you peace of mind, wherever you might be.

Bio:Thomas Ujj is an expat/traveler and IT enthusiast with a passion for security and privacy. When he isn’t planning his next trip, he likes to take time to practice his Italian cooking as well as religiously watching Italian football team AS Roma. Unfortunately, cooking and watching football games doesn’t always equal paychecks, so he writes for SmartDNS.com as well. 


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