The travel industry has grown exceptionally fast in recent years. With international flights taking off and landing every second of the day, Airbnbs growing at a vast rate, and the trendy digital nomad lifestyle taking the world by storm, there’s no doubt that travel is one of the biggest industries in the world.
But, traveling does come with some threats. While most people worry about losing their passports or falling victim to a tourist trap, there are often dangers lurking much closer to home while you’re abroad. Your very own laptop or smartphone could be putting you at risk. Keep reading to find out how.
The Digital Risks of Traveling
Traveling might seem straightforward, even if it’s your first time going abroad. Oftentimes though, it’s not the physical elements you need to worry about, but rather the digital. Cybercriminals thrive on foreigners who visit their country, and there’s a very good reason for this.
While you’re abroad, you will likely be trying to avoid the expensive roaming costs that come with using your mobile data. As such, you will need to use public WiFi hotspots to gain access to the internet. The problem is that public WiFi hotspots are unsecured networks, which means that a hacker that is on the same network or has created the network themselves, will be able to “listen in” on your device. This virtual eavesdropping allows them to steal your login credentials, personal information, and even your banking details. In other scenarios, it allows them to snoop on your private life.
Cybercriminals can use this information to commit a range of crimes against you, including identity theft and fraud. If a hacker steals your login credentials they will have access to your emails, social media, and even your bank accounts. This is particularly true if you repeat the same password across multiple accounts belonging to you.
How to Stay Safe Abroad
So, if you’re traveling abroad soon you want to ensure that your devices are always secure. The best way to keep your devices safe while using an unsecured network is by using one of the top 5 VPNs.
VPNs are cybersecurity tools that will encrypt your internet connection. While your connection is encrypted, no one can see what you are doing on your device — even your ISP and the government won’t be able to keep track of your internet traffic.
VPNs also allow you to connect to secure global servers. In doing so, your real IP address will be hidden, and your device will be using the server’s IP address instead of yours — this allows you to spoof your real location. This feature is helpful when trying to bypass geo-blocking and internet censorship.
In other words, a VPN is the ultimate tool for complete privacy and security on your devices. Before you install the first VPN you see though, it’s important to keep in mind that you should avoid free VPNs at all costs. Free VPNs come with several drawbacks such as slower connection speeds, fewer global servers to choose from, more ads, daily data limits, and overall they are less secure. So, make sure you always choose a premium VPN and do as much research as you can about the VPN vendor before you install it on your device.