How to keep your data safe while traveling

Planning a trip? Here are 10 ways you can keep your data safe while traveling.

When preparing for a trip, people usually think about packing, purchasing plane tickets, creating buckets and to-do lists. However, while most of us think about our physical safety when traveling, we seldom consider our digital security.

It is not uncommon to misplace, lose, or have your digital devices stolen when traveling. That can cause a lot of stress and damage, not to mention other consequences such as identity or money theft.

To prevent this from happening, we’ve created a comprehensive list of security tips you should consider implementing before your next trip.

1) Use secure messaging apps

When traveling, people usually use airport WiFis, or other open connections to send messages to their loved ones. However, these internet connections are incredibly unsafe and prone to various exploits.

Your data can be intercepted easily by malicious actors, who then use it for identity or money theft.

To avoid this from happening, we recommend using secure messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. The important thing is that they’ll encrypt your texts, deeming them unusable for hackers.

2) Use a dedicated phone for traveling

Your phone is your gateway to the rest of the world. It holds all sorts of valuable data, both financial, privacy-related, or sentimental. Things often get lost or stolen during travel, so purchasing a dedicated phone that’s only going to be used when traveling is a smart idea.

This way, you don’t have to worry about stolen passwords, lost images, or stolen expensive phones.

3) Backup your data

Backing up data should become every user’s habit, especially before or during traveling. Devices often get lost, broken, damaged, or stolen. And, the last thing you’d want is to lose everything. For those reasons, you should always consider backing up your files before embarking on a journey.

4) Use a VPN

VPN is the ultimate tool when it comes to preserving one’s online privacy and security. It’s a comprehensive software solution that encrypts all user web traffic and conceals its IP address. Moreover, it is also a great way to avoid website geo-restrictions when traveling.

Let’s say that you’re traveling to the UK and want to watch Netflix UK. You can do so by connecting to a UK VPN server to change your IP address and trick the system into believing that you’re a local. Moreover, a VPN will also ensure that you’re safe even when using public and open WiFi networks.

5) Use an antivirus shield

Antivirus shields have been around for a while now. They help protect our devices from malware and other dangers.

All your devices, especially your computers, should have their antivirus shields on at all times. Most modern antivirus solutions come with additional advanced security features that can keep your data safe when traveling.

Although it doesn’t happen often, another user could hack and control your phone with ransomware. That’s why it’s essential to download a top antivirus solution and get to know common signs your Android phone is hacked. For example, high data usage (when it doesn’t make sense) could be a red flag that someone nefarious is using your phone.

6) Rent a security box for your USB drives and memory cards

When traveling, most of us are equipped with cameras, memory sticks, and other tools that help us make and save memories. However, USB sticks and memory cards are annoying because they get misplaced so easily.

Or, if you’re working remotely, and have to use a company USB stick, then you could get into a lot of trouble if it got lost or stolen. To ensure that that doesn’t happen, we recommend renting out a safe or a deposit box to stash away these items.

7) Be careful when connecting to public WiFi

Public or open WiFis are no joke – there have been numerous instances where unknowing users were hacked/compromised because they were connected to a public WiFi network.

These networks are fertile ground for hackers because many users are connected to it at all times. That enables them to exploit a wide variety of users with ease. They are especially prone to man-in-the-middle attacks, among others.

When traveling, you are likely going to use café or airport WiFi – that’s fine. However, always turn on your VPN beforehand.

8) Use a secure web browser

This point goes hand in hand with the last one. If you prefer not to use a VPN, then install a secure browser such as Tor, which conceals your IP address, encrypts your traffic, and keeps your device safe from hackers. Some other secure web browser options include Chromium, Brave, Iridium, and Firefox.

9) Generate strong passwords

This should be your top priority at all times, but especially when traveling. You never know whether you’ll become a victim of theft or somehow lose or forget your devices.

Setting a strong password will prevent thieves or anyone else from accessing your files and potentially taking advantage of them. We recommend using password managers. They have two main functions – generating strong passwords and saving them into one safe place.

10) Password-protect your files

If you store sensitive information such as ID data, company files, contracts, or credit card data on your digital devices, then make sure to password protect this information. You can use dedicated apps and other third-party software, such as Lock & Hide Folder or another type of encryption software.

11) Enable two-factor-authentication

Two-factor-authentication means that you have to go through two verification steps before unlocking your device or accessing your account.

This measure makes it nearly impossible for hackers to penetrate your system and plan malware or steal files. Most websites, email clients, and digital devices in general offer this feature. You can usually enable it in settings.