As a long-term traveller in Australia, I know how important it is to stay safe using the 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 emails 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 travel, I have been experimenting with different things and the basic rules for using the internet safely and protecting my most important personal information.
Things to know about how to use the internet safely
When browsing on the internet from a public wi-fi connection for shopping, banking or checking your mails, keep your login 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 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 the 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 other Asian countries where they are banned.
Cocoon’s good thing is that it 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 you can upgrade for 2.49 USD /month if you need more functionality.
- 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 option, 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 credit cards and debit cards come with this one-time password functionality, 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. Setting up an OPT for all your cards is a good idea if you haven’t yet.
- Set up a two-steps-verification for all your most important accounts and all those accounts that you use regularly. Next to banking and Mail accounts, these may include those Social Media Accounts and 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 to access your private accounts like home banking, writing emails, 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, avoid having your personal information stored on 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 on 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 on your mobile and computer. If a hacker uses files to inject malware onto your computer, that would be an easy getaway.
Conclusion about how to use the internet safely when travelling
Caution when browsing on the internet is never enough, unfortunately! We all should always follow the best practice and keep ourselves updated about the best ways to protect our privacy on the internet.
So to wrap it up:
• Be aware of your environment when accessing the internet through a public unsecured wi-fi network. I prefer your own devices to public computers. Use an inherent protection browser or VPN anonymous browsing.
• Use leading-edge protection when shopping or using sensitive data by creating strong passwords, a two-step verification. 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 the laptop (by rawpixel)
Image no. 6. Internet Banking Online Payment (by Kite_rin)