As COVID-19 restrictions ease, many of us with itchy travel feet return to the roads and skies, ready to go on our next great adventure. Some things haven’t changed. We still use our devices like our smartphones, tablets, and laptops to carry our essential work travel documents. At a time when flights are canceled at a moment’s notice, our portable machines also help us stay organized and informed.
For these reasons, we must take the appropriate step to protect our devices when traveling:
Scan for malware before traveling
The last thing you need is for malicious software to crash your device or cause it to malfunction. Download anti-malware security software for your device that can stop anything from a basic computer virus to a sophisticated piece of spyware or Trojan on your trip. While a virus can get in the way of a device’s basic function, more complex malware can steal your credit card data, travel information, and more.
Avoid posting details on the Internet
Feeling excited about your journey is natural, but you should avoid talking about it in online public spaces. Hackers are always on the prowl for information they can leverage to attack you. If talking about your trip is unavoidable, then only share information with trusted friends.
Set complex passwords
Use complex passwords for your devices. In the unlikely event that someone gains access to your system, they shouldn’t be able to log in easily. Or better yet, go password-free. Use biometric verification systems like retina, facial, or thumb scans to log into your devices. Biometric verification systems are harder to crack because they rely on unique physical features.
Activate location tracking
With airports seeing unprecedented congestion, it’s easy for even the most careful traveler to misplace their device in large crowds. Enabling location tracking features can help you find your precious machine in a pinch.
Invest in a VPN service
Many WiFi networks found at airports, hotels, cafes, parks, and shopping areas, while indispensable, also have weak security settings. Threat actors often target travelers connecting to these networks to steal their sensitive data like their banking information. Such networks are also subject to fake WiFi attacks where hackers create malicious networks with the same names to trap travelers.
A VPN (virtual private network) secures public WiFi by creating a private and encrypted tunnel between a user and the Internet. All data is essentially turned into unreadable gibberish. That’s how investing in a cutting-edge VPN service can protect you while on the go.
A VPN is also helpful for travelers because it assigns a virtual IP address instead of a local one. In other words, you can trick your bank or PayPal into thinking you’re connecting from home instead of another country and avoid setting off security triggers that lock your account.
Just remember to steer clear of free VPNs because they use outdated technology. Some free VPNs are also run by countries that don’t respect freedoms and spy on users.
These basic tips can help you secure your devices while traveling. Stay safe, and stay happy on your upcoming journey.
Alton Clarke was born and raised in Syracuse. He has written for MSNBC, The Business Insider and Passport Magazine. In regards to academics, Alton earned a degree from St. John’s University. Alton covers entertainment and culture stories here at Diving daily.