Summer is a great time to take a vacation. If you’re a soccer fan, you maybe heading to Brazil to watch the world cup.
Regardless of your destination this summer, make sure the technology you bring along on the journey is secure.
When traveling abroad, it’s sometimes easy to let your guard down while experiencing everything around you, and if your electronic devices aren’t protected, it could make for some inconvenient bumps in the road. In order to help you protect your digital world, here are a number of ways to keep your devices on lockdown while traveling abroad.
Create Stronger Passwords
From your smartphone to your laptop to your tablet, creating strong passwords for your devices is your first line of defense, especially while traveling abroad. If your device is stolen, a strong password not only protects your personal information, it also buys you time to remotely disable your device before thieves can access your data.
When traveling abroad with electronic devices, it’s wise to keep the storage of your personal information on the device to a minimum. As for the password, strong means at least six to eight characters, case-sensitive, and a mix of various symbols and numbers. In addition, make sure you memorize the password as opposed to writing it down or keeping it in a note on your smartphone.
Disable Autofill and Cookies
Sure, the autofill feature is incredibly convenient when you use your laptop at home or at the office, but it could spell trouble while traveling abroad. If you have autofill set up on your computer and it’s stolen, thieves can login to your various online accounts by simply visiting webpages based on your browser history.
In order to take the privacy threat out of the equation, it’s important to disable the autofill feature on your laptop and reset all autofill settings. In addition, disable your browser’s cookies as well. Cookies are convenient for visiting your favorite sites, but they are also a convenient way for thieves to track down your Internet history in the event your device is stolen.
Play it Safe With WiFi
If you’ve ever traveled abroad, then you already know how difficult it is to track down a reliable wireless network. But just because you find a WiFi hotspot doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind and log-on right away. An unencrypted wireless network, like those you’d find with free public hotspots, are usually plagued with numerous security threats.
From cyber criminals trolling for unsecure passwords to viruses and every threat in between, an unsecured WiFi connection is usually too good to be true. Try your best to find a password-protected wireless connection, like the type you’d find in a coffee shop or hotel. Encrypted WiFi uses wired-equivalent privacy and WiFi protected access, which isn’t 100% secure, but it’s much safer than an unencrypted connection.
If you want to play it safe, then make sure you have Hotspot Shield VPN installed. Hotspot Shield not only encrypts all your internet communications, but also protects your privacy.
Keep Software Updated and Data Backed Up
When it comes to your computer and smartphone running at peak performance, updating your software on a regular basis is just good practice. When you’re planning your trip abroad, make sure you include a complete system update on your to-do list. Software updates, such as an operating system update, usually beef up your device’s security features as well.
Likewise, along with your software update, make sure you backup all of your data on the Cloud or an external hard drive. Backing up your computer’s hard drive ensures that your data lives in a second location, which is crucial in the event your device is stolen. If you only need Internet access on your journeys, bringing along a web-only netbook is a good alternative to bringing your data heavy laptop.
Install an Effective Privacy Screen
While traveling abroad, chances are you’ll need to access your laptop or smartphone in public places. In order to keep prying eyes off your screens, it’s important to install blackout privacy screens on your devices. Not all privacy screens are built the same, so it’s important to choose a screen with the blackout feature.
A blackout privacy screen allows only the person looking directly at the screen to see the display. Privacy screens are especially helpful on smartphones considering you are more likely to use your smartphone in a public place. In addition, if you’re using your laptop in a public place, like an Internet café, a privacy screen can stop others from seeing your passwords and other private information.
Make Sure Your Devices are Out of Sight and Out of Mind
A thief’s number one goal is to steal your device without you knowing, which is exactly why keeping your devices out of sight is good practice while traveling. If you’re planning a day trip to an exotic beach or you’re out to dinner, make sure you don’t leave your smartphone or laptop out in the open, even if it’s within reach.
Electronic devices are worth a pretty penny abroad and thieves are willing to steal your device right before your eyes if the opportunity presents itself. So, keep your device on you at all times and never leave it out in the open. If you’re going somewhere that prevents you from holding on to your device the entire time, simply leave it behind in the hotel in a secure, hidden spot.
What to do When a Device is Stolen
No matter how hard you try to protect your devices while traveling abroad, thieves just sometimes get the better of you. If someone steals your smartphone during your travels, there are a few important steps you need to take. For starters, contact your provider and have them suspend your service. In addition, you can also log in to your cellular account and remotely lock your smartphone to suspend any further use.
By contacting your cellular provider, you can also replace your lost or stolen phone. Never use the track and trace feature to find your stolen smartphone yourself because you never know the type of person who took it. As for your laptop, there are a number of anti-theft software programs available, like LoJack, that either render you laptop useless or help authorities covertly track your computer for recovery purposes.
By keeping in mind the security tips above, you can rest assured your devices are safe and secure while traveling abroad.