Digital security while traveling

Let’s face it, we live in a digital world.  Most of our errands and tasks are performed online.  We do our banking online; we get our news from our favorite news media websites; all our communication is either by email, messaging apps such as Skype, Whatsapp, Snapchat or Facebook.  Majority of us work remotely using our computer and do our shopping online.  There is a lot at stake if our Internet security is compromised.  This is specially true when we are traveling.  But there are a few tips for you to stay secure, though total security is impossible.

Do not use public WiFi.  Specially avoid using hotspots not secured with a password, also known as open networks.

Using public computers for sensitive transactions or communication.  The answer is simple: Don’t.   You have no idea if the public computer has spyware installed or not.  One simple way to steal credentials is to install a key-logger, where every key you press is recorded in sequence without your knowledge.  It is wise to never use a public computer other than for non-sensitive interactions.

Locking all doors but leaving a window unlocked.  Many computers and laptops have a file sharing feature.  When you connect to a public network such as a WiFi, your computer is now on the Local Area Network (LAN).  Every other computer on that network can access your computer if you have file sharing enabled and even worse if you you do not have it protected with a strong password.  All data on your computer is now at risk of being compromised.

Accessing personal banking while traveling.  It is best that you avoid doing this while on travels.  If you must access your bank, make sure you are back in the hotel and hardwired as opposed to WiFi, as this reduces the risk.  Better yet, it is better to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for all your communication.  Make sure you never enter any Personal Identifying Information (PII) on any website that is not secured (HTTPS) with a valid certificate.

Track your phone.  Before you start your travels, be sure to install tracking tools on your smartphone and turn the GPS on.  This will assist you in finding your phone if it gets lost.  I lost my phone once and could not remember where.  So I went online to track my phone and I had left it in a restaurant.  So I went back and picked it up.  In addition to tracking your phone, you should also password protect it.

There are a few more tips to stay secure.  Rather than inundate you with information, following the few steps above will will be of great help to you.  More security tips will be forthcoming.

Stay physically and digitally safe.

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