Traveling can present many risks, especially if you work while on the go. Keeping your information safe when you're connected to many different public WiFi connections and surrounded by strangers can be difficult. Here are a few tips for ensuring that you're safe from cyberattacks while traveling.
1. Before Leaving
There are a few things you can do to ensure your safety before you even leave your home. The first thing you should do is ask yourself if you're taking any redundant devices with you. Could you leave that tablet or extra laptop at home? If so, leave it behind. The fewer devices you have, the less you'll have to worry about.
Second, you should back up any important files on your devices so they'll still be safe in case you misplace or damage your device. Consider removing any personal information from your devices, like your home address, social security number, birth date, and credit card information. Lastly, you'll want to change passwords on your accounts and ensure your anti-virus or zero trust software has been updated.
Installing encryption software is also important if you're planning to work while abroad, as it will ensure that only authorized individuals can access your data. If encryption software isn't available where you're traveling, it might be a good idea to leave your devices at home or bring along a loaner device for the trip. These few steps will keep you pretty safe on your trip, no matter what happens.
2. Be Aware of Surroundings
If you're an experienced traveller, you're probably already hyper-aware of your surroundings at all times. Tourists are often targets of theft or scams, and it's easy to lose important luggage if you're not staying focused. But for the safety of your devices, you'll need to add another kind of awareness. Keep your devices to yourself when working in public places and don't leave them unattended.
You may be able to install a privacy screen to keep others from being able to see what you're doing. This is especially important if you're accessing bank information or your work accounts while working in public. If you're concerned about possible cybersecurity attacks, you may want to research the local authority's policies surrounding internet crimes.
It's also a good idea to avoid plugging in any accessory devices you may have bought on the road, or plugging your phone into any outlet around you. These are common ways that travelers have their information stolen from them. Try to make sure any accessories have been purchased ahead of time, or come from a known, safe source.
3. Be Wary of Wi-Fi
It's almost impossible to avoid using public Wi-Fi while traveling, whether you're working from a coffee shop or from your hotel room. What you can control is what information you're accessing while using those WiFi connections. Data thieves could easily see your passwords, pins, and other important security information while you're using a public connection.
Don't allow your devices to automatically use a public WiFi connection, and periodically disconnect your device from the network. Turn off the Wi-Fi whenever you're not actively using it, and avoid browsing any websites that require you to enter personal information.
One way to test the security of a public network is to intentionally log in using the wrong password. If the WiFi connects anyway, you'll know it's a weak connection and could easily be used for cyberattacks. And never use a public device to communicate sensitive information or send important files.
4. Once You're Back
After you've returned from your trip, you might feel like you're finally safe. But there are a few things you still need to do. Run checks for possible malware on any devices you used abroad, and once again update your passwords and usernames.
Traveling with your devices can be risky, but by following these tips you should be mitigating as many risks as possible.