Increasingly, threats targeting international travelers’ identities come from the high-tech devices we’ve come to love, can’t do without, and carry with us everywhere we go.
There are ways to ensure that our Smartphones, tablets and laptops connect and surf through cyberspace with relative security while visiting other countries. But a person has to be vigilant. Here are some tips for using our high-tech gear safely no matter where we go:
Chances are you’ll look for a Wi-Fi hotspot not long after you arrive at your destination. They’re everywhere these days – in hotels, airports, and cafés – and a great place to connect. But beware. That Wi-Fi café in Paris may be free, but logging in may be costly. Any information you send while on their network might be seen by thieves.
- Ask an employee within the hotspot-offering business for the actual name of its network before you log in.
- Use the network login key/password given to you by the business.
- Never send personal or financial information on public Wi-Fi. If you must, however, be sure the site you connect with is an https:// site: the ‘s‘ – for secure – is essential for knowing whether a site is considered safe, as opposed to an http:// site.
The device that has changed our lives so dramatically seems the perfect traveling companion. It takes great pictures, lets us make calls and check our email, and provides compelling local information, all in a 3-inch unit that fits in our pocket.
- Turn off the Bluetooth feature on your phone unless you’re using it.
- Don’t show off the phone in public places; keep it close to your body.
- Turn off the geo-tagging functions within the phone.
- Make sure to use a password or PIN to access your phone.
Though less common these days with the proliferation of smaller devices, laptops still carry many of the same cautions for users as Smartphones and tablets. Be wary of unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots, turn off your Bluetooth, and use a strong password.
- Keep a close eye on laptops, especially while going through airport security during peak flying times.
- Store the laptop in your room’s safe, if it has one.
- Consider carrying the laptop in a non-computer case, like a backpack or padded briefcase.