While you shouldn’t be freaked out about your personal computer when travelling, if you are too careless with your electronic information you open yourself up to significant hassles and costs. Aim for a middle ground of cautiousness, and guard your private information by sticking to these tips.
Safety Tips for Traveling with Your Own Device
If you’re taking your device on the street, be aware that gadget theft is an issue in Europe. Not only should you take precautions to protect your devices from thieves, but you need to also arrange them for maximum safety so that if they’re stolen, your private data will stay confidential.
First, check that you are running the latest version of your device’s operating system and safety program. Next, consider tightening your security preferences. Ensure that your device is password- or passcode-protected so burglars can’t get your data if it’s stolen. If it’s already protected, look at reducing the time it takes for the display to lock when not in use, although it’s annoying to have to keep entering your code, that is not anywhere near as annoying as identity theft (and you are able to relax your security settings when you’re home). For an excess layer of safety, consider setting passwords on programs that access key info (such as email or Facebook).
Once on the road, use just valid Wi-Fi hotspots. Ask the hotel or café for the particular name of the network, and be sure you log on to the exact one. Hackers occasionally create bogus hotspots with a vague or similar name (like “Hotel Europa Free Wi-Fi”) that shows up alongside a lot of authentic networks. It is better if a network uses a password (particularly a hard-to-guess one) rather than being open to the entire world. If you are not actively using a hotspot, turn off Wi-Fi so that your device is not visible to others.
Security Tips for Using Public Computers
It is perfectly safe to use a public computer for tasks that don’t require you to log in to an account. For instance, checking train schedules, maps, or museum hours does not pose a safety risk. The threat lies in accessing private accounts that ask that you enter a login and password (such as email, Facebook, or any e-commerce website).
If you are traveling with your own device, attempt to make that your sole way of accessing your accounts. However, if you are going to be relying on hotel-lobby computers or Internet cafés, then remember that you don’t have any idea who employed that computer past, whether it has undergone ict risk mitigation, or who will hop on next. Public computers could be loaded with damaging malware, for example, key-logger programs that keep tabs on what you are typing, such as passwords.
If you do need to access personal reports on a public computer, make certain that the Web browser you use does not store your login information. If you’ve got the option of starting an “incognito” or even “personal” browser window, then use it. When you register into any website, look for ways to ensure that the browser forgets your username and password once you log out.
Last, look at setting up two-step verification for your main accounts. This requires you to enter not just a password but a second code when you log in using an unknown computer (accessible with many Web-based email and social-networking websites).
Getting Personal Information Online
While you’re off, you may be tempted to check your online banking or credit-card statements or to take care of other personal-finance chores. Internet security experts advise against accessing these websites completely while traveling.
Definitely refrain from logging into personal financial websites on a public computer. Even if you are using your own mobile device at a password-protected hotspot, any hacker who is logged on to the same network may be able to find out what you’re up to. If you do need to access banking information, do so on a hard-wired connection (i.e., using an Ethernet cable on your hotel room). Otherwise, try to log in through a mobile network, which is safer than any Wi-Fi link.
Even if you avoid getting bank accounts during your journey, you might still have to enter your credit-card information online, like for reserving museum or theater tickets). If so, make sure that the website is secure. Most browsers display a little padlock icon to signify this; additionally, check that the page’s URL starts with https instead of http. Never send a credit-card amount (or some other sensitive data) over a website which doesn’t begin with https.
Savvy password habits are also crucial. Above all, don’t use individual dictionary words, do not reuse passwords (or perhaps similar passwords) across different websites (a password-manager program really helps), and think concerning employing a “passphrase” — the longer your password, the better. Simply take a few minutes to read up online for up-to-date password advice (for instance, this informative article, and this list of the best 25 worst passwords).
Employing a software testing service is not always achievable when you are travelling across a number of countries, therefore sticking to the above tips is essential.