As a long-term traveller I know how important it is to stay safe when using internet.
With all the recent online scandals about data breaches, we are constantly exposed to potential identity theft. So protecting our privacy online when travelling should be our priority number 1.
When we travel we need to access the internet for all those important things like checking travel arrangements, flight details, hotel bookings, or simply writing mails and using social media. While it’s pretty easy to get free internet access while travelling, there are also risks that you must consider when using unsecured wi-fi. The truth is that most public wi-fi networks are unsecured, so the chances to have your devices infected by hackers, viruses or malware increase dramatically.
That’s why we must be aware of the many threats that lurk online, take the utmost care when using a public connection to access the internet on the go. While there are ways to protect your phone and laptop and stay safe on the internet, the worst scenario is when you need to use a public computer at airports, in internet cafès or hotel lounges.
Over many years of travels, I have been experimenting different things and the basic rules for using internet safely and protecting my most important personal information.
Things to know about how to use the internet safely
When browsing in internet from a public wi-fi connection for shopping, banking or checking your mails, keep your log in data such as passwords and credit card details safe and secure throughout the internet session. But how do you protect yourself wisely from identity theft?
Internet safety rules and tips while travelling
These easy steps will help you secure your personal information for internet access while travelling.
- Use a browser protection. I recently came across the Cocoon Internet Browser which similarly acts as a VPN by allowing you to access the internet through their cloud browser. Cocoon protects you when accessing internet from unsecured wi-fi networks such as hotels, airports, internet cafes. Moreover it also allows you to access Facebook and Google in those countries like China and more Asian countries where these sites are banned. The good thing about Cocoon is that is free to download and you can use it on your desktop and laptop. They also plan to launch a version for iOs and Android mobile devices. The free version is best suited for travelling purposes, but if you need more functionality, you can upgrade for 2.49 USD /month.
- Get a VPN. What is a VPN? A Virtual Private Network that lets you create a private intermediate connection with others on the internet. So to say a peer-to-peer interface. This is by far the most popular way to protect your data. This is a paid-otpion and a good VPN service is not cheap though. A yearly subscription ranges between 100-190 dollars.
- Use Credit Cards with OPT for better protection. Nowadays I only use my cards with OPT. Most of credits cards and debit cards come with this one-time-password functionality, which is a sort of 3D card security. This means whenever you purchase something online, you have to enter a special code (numbers) to confirm your transaction. This is delivered to your phone or through a personal device like a token. Be careful that some sellers may only accept online payment through credit cards or debit cards that support One-Time-Password. So setting up an OPT for all your cards, if you haven’t yet, is a good idea.
- Set up a two-steps-verification for all your most important accounts and all those accounts that you use on a regular basis. These may include, next to banking and Mail accounts, also those Social Media Accounts but also your Apple ID and Google. Apple has recently introduced the automated double authentication practice, which may sound a bit awkward, but finally it only aims to increase your safety online.
- Avoid using public computers in internet cafes for accessing your private accounts like home-banking, for writing mails or shopping online. If you really need to, try to use the incognito browser and make sure you clear the browser cache, history and cookies, each time you start a new internet session, to avoid having your personal information stored onto the computer. Another way to protect your data and privacy is to download an internet protection browser, like Cocoon, and sign in. These steps will allow you to browse with peace of mind and keep all your personal information private and secure without leaving any tracks on the computer.
- Create strong passwords for all your personal online accounts. But make sure you don’t store your passwords onto your mobile and laptop, instead keep them on a USB-key or, if you can, don’t store them at all. Instead try to create strong passwords that are easy to remember.
- Deactivate all file-sharing options that are active on your devices like Airdrop, Bluetooth. These automatically enable the public sharing of files or images stored onto your mobile and computer. If a hacker uses files to inject a malware onto your computer, that would be an easy getaway.
Conclusion about how to use the internet safely when travelling
Caution when browsing in internet is never enough, unfortunately! We all should always follow the best practice, try to keep ourselves updated about the best ways to best protect our privacy in internet.
So to wrap it up:
• Be aware of your environment when accessing the internet through a public unsecured wi-fi network. Prefer your own devices than public computers. Use an interent protection browser or VPN anonymous browsing.
• Use leading edge protection when shopping or using sensitive data by creating strong passwords, a two-steps-verification and whenever possible use credit cards with a 3D security process, to make safe and secure purchases online.
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Photo Credits no. 1-2 and 4-6 via Shutterstock
Image no. 1. Communication Connection Digital Devices (by rawpixel)
Image no. 2. Online Security Protection and Internet Safety (by rawpixel)
Image no. 3. getcocoon.com Homepage
Image no. 4. Wireless Internet Networking (by rawpixel)
Image no. 5. Online Shopping – Hand holding credit card and using laptop (by rawpixel)
Image no. 6. Internet Banking Online Payment (by Kite_rin)