Five Strategies to Protect Your Data Privacy While Traveling

PublisherSol Minion Developmenthttps: Privacy TravelSecuritystrategy

If you've been counting down to your vacation or are preparing for a work trip, your personal data is the last thing you want to worry about. Unfortunately, travel can put you in situations that make you more vulnerable to data theft.

With a little foresight and a few simple steps, you can secure your digital footprint while you’re away. Here’s what you need to know before you go.

Start with the basics

Before you leave home, make data security a priority. Run any necessary updates on your devices and software while you have access to a secure internet connection. 

Set up multifactor authentication on apps you expect to be using while you’re away, and update your passwords. Back up important data so it’s safe if your device gets lost or damaged.

The National Cybersecurity Alliance advises changing your device’s settings so it won’t automatically connect to bluetooth or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. 

Avoid websites that do not use SSL. They are more susceptible to malware, data breaches, and other threats, potentially compromising your sensitive data.

Be careful with emails, too. Don't click on links or download attachments from senders you don't know, especially if they require you to perform an urgent action such as paying an invoice. These are common scams that target personal and financial data.

Physically secure your gear

Set complex passcodes on any devices you bring with you, and consider investing in a locking case. Use hotel safes to secure devices when you aren’t using them. 

Always use your own charging cords and invest in a portable power source to avoid “juice jacking” on public charging stations that can be tampered with to steal data or install malware. The FCC warns that “Malware installed through a corrupted USB port can lock a device or export personal data and passwords directly to the perpetrator.”

Use a VPN for an extra layer of security

Consider setting up a reliable VPN before you travel to mask your IP address and encrypt your web traffic data. This makes it more difficult for hackers, internet service providers, or government entities to access your information without consent. 

Installing a VPN can also help mitigate bandwidth throttling from your internet service provider (ISP).

Avoid public wifi

According to a survey published by Forbes Advisor, 41% of people using public Wi-Fi while traveling have had their online security compromised. The results indicated that airplanes were the most common place people had their data compromised on public Wi-Fi, followed by hotels, public transportation, and restaurants.

Despite the risks, the survey found that “only 17% of travelers feel unsafe using public Wi-Fi networks.” Instead of playing the odds, protect yourself while traveling by using cellular data and tethering devices with a secure mobile hotspot.

Develop Your Situational Awareness

Even if you're being proactive with digital privacy tools, make a habit of tuning into your surroundings to keep yourself — and your data — safe. In public spaces, think about where you are and what others might be able to see on your devices. 

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