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Traveling safely with appropriate cybersecurity hygiene

Coronavirus is wrecking all the travel plans and vastly impacting tourism. Some countries still allow tourists to come, although it is recommended to travel locally for safety. Funnily enough, Coronavirus and cybersecurity have one thing in common – both of them do not care about borders. 

Cybersecurity is crucial at all times, but it is most important while being abroad. So, how can you ensure your cybersecurity is up to par while travelling? 

 

  • Create unique usernames

Every account ever created is tied to the username. The username not only represents a person behind the account but also identifies him. It is essential to create a unique username for every account used. By choosing different account names, one can save oneself from hackers. 

For example, if platform A gets hacked and the login information gets leaked, a hacker might try the same username on platform B and then use various techniques to crack the account.   To create unique and safe usernames, it is recommended to use a username generator. For example, this username generator created by NordPass generates usernames and checks availability via various social media platforms. 

 

  • Avoid public WIFI

Getting free internet access is always tempting, although it might cause a lot of problems. When a device connects to a Wifi, it is immediately identified by the host. If a hacker is also connected to the same Wifi, this allows one to break into the chosen device. A lot of sensitive data may be stolen during this attack, for example, banking details. 

This can be avoided if one uses a VPN service. A VPN will encrypt the traffic during the Wifi connection and make it impossible for the hacker to hack. 

 

  • Create strong passwords

A password is like a front door to a person’s home. It is crucial to have a strong and unbreakable one. Complex passwords used for accounts will make it nearly impossible to hack them. 

If in doubt, whether the chosen password has never before been leaked. Check it with a password checker, like this one from HaveIbeenpwned. If the password was leaked, change it immediately. 

 

  • Update before traveling

Check for updates on all the devices before traveling. Updates are crucial for bugs and vulnerabilities fixes. This may seem time-consuming, although it will protect all the information stored in apps. 

Try not to update apps or devices while using public Wifi. As previously mentioned, public Wifi usually invites hackers to unprotected devices. For example, a false pop up may appear on a mobile phone asking to update some app. By pressing it, a person opens the doors to the hacker and invites to one’s device. 

 

  • Post photos after the trip

Instantly sharing lovely moments from the trip may seem like a good idea. Sadly, it is not a perfectly good one, rather a bad one. By sharing current location via social media, a person allows the vast public to know about one’s whereabouts and use this as an advantage. This may lead to future scams or simply robbery of one’s property. 

 

  • Avoid online shopping and banking

Try connecting to a bank via banking apps or the internet as seldom as it is possible. Also, if it is unavoidable, choose a private space, use a VPN service. To make sure the VPN connection was made, check the device IP. IP Leak provides a good analysis of one’s address via their pageLikewise, avoid online shopping or any websites where it is asked to enter banking details. 

 

  • Dismiss messages from unknown sources

Hackers are always improving as well as the scams they are hosting. It is common to send a person a message or an email containing familiar names or places. These messages look very convincing and may seem like a real deal. However, they are only there to steal information or convince a person to send money. 

As much as the messages seem to be legit, they also contain indicators that will help identify them. Look for grammar mistakes, flashy “click here” buttons, cloudy descriptions, odd or urgent requests to, for example, send money. 

 

  • Use an antivirus program

An antivirus app is an essential everyday companion and especially when traveling. Usually, an antivirus program is preinstalled on most smartphones. Although, other devices may not contain it. Make sure to install it before traveling. A regular clean up of the phone is always a good idea and will protect the device from malicious activity. Also, antivirus apps are designed to notice it’s user immediately if it detects a virus. 

Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!

I use SafetyWing at $9 a week, and it's amazing. Also, it has great digital nomad insurance for people who are constantly travelling too! You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here

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