How to Protect Yourself From Hackers When Traveling

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Traveling to different countries and locations is important both for business travelers and those looking for a vacation. However, traveling makes it more difficult to keep yourself and your data and devices safe from hackers. There are several easy-to-fall-into traps that come from being away from home. This guide will teach you how to protect yourself from hackers when traveling.

How to Protect Yourself From Hackers When Traveling

Hackers Present Extra Dangers While Traveling

Though some don’t realize it, hackers present extra challenges while you’re traveling. Hackers are criminals of opportunity, and being away from your home or work networks makes you more vulnerable.

You’re more likely to be using public internet access, either at your hotel or in cafes and restaurants. Unfortunately, these hotspots can be prime targets for intrusion by hackers, as they’re so open to the public.

Scammers can also attempt to skim your data through various methods. For example, some scammers place fake parts onto ATMs or can even make deals with unscrupulous store owners. These devices then skim all of your card information and send it to the hacker. Hackers then sell your information on the dark web for an easy profit or drain your bank accounts.

If you’re a high-value target or a business person, you should be wary of speaking too openly in public settings. Many hackers can use overheard conversations as an opportunity to gather information about you. The hacker can then use this information to help breach your security systems online.

How to Protect Yourself From Hackers When Traveling

There are some simple steps you can take to avoid many of the dangers found while traveling.

Use a VPN

VPNs are a great tool for keeping your connections as private as possible. If you’re away from home, you should ensure that you have a VPN service installed on all of your mobile devices. Laptops, smartphones, and even wearable tech can all typically install VPN applications. Using a VPN can make stealing your data much harder for the hacker, especially at public hotspots.

Use 2FA

2FA Factsheet
2FA is important for your security, both generally and while traveling. | Source: Secure360

Two-factor authentication is one of the most basic elements of cybersecurity. Even when not traveling, all of your social media accounts and work profiles should have 2FA enabled. While this feature doesn’t completely prevent hacking, it could stop 99% of attempts made against your online accounts.

Part of the reason 2FA is important while traveling is that people tend to let their guards down while away from home. Leaving your phone or laptop unattended is much easier to do when you’re feeling more relaxed, and you should remember that many top travel destinations can become heavily trafficked by pickpockets and muggers. In addition, if your device is lost or stolen, 2FA will prevent hackers from getting access to your accounts while you work on recovering or disabling your device.

Don’t Talk About Private Data in Public.

While it may be tempting to meet a business partner in a public setting, discussing your business in public should be avoided. If you’re a high-value target or a well-known business person, a hacker in public may recognize you. In addition, while discussing your business, it’s easy to let small details slip. Even information that seems inconsequential may be used to bypass some of your digital security.

While out in public, make sure you keep any details that could be used against you to yourself. Obvious information like your address or passwords isn’t the only thing you need to avoid bringing up. Details commonly used for security questions, such as where you grew up or the name of your pets, should be strictly avoided.

Thoroughly Check all Cash Machines

how to stay safe from hackers while traveling - card skimmers
There are various types of card skimmer, and they all ape the design of popular ATMs or cash machines. | Source: Cards International

In common travel destinations, criminals employ the use of card skimmers. Card skimmers are devices that read and save your credit or debit card information. These devices are typically designed to mimic the cash machine or ATM they’re placed onto, making them very hard to spot.

Whenever you need to withdraw cash while traveling, try to use a machine inside the bank itself. These machines are much safer, as the bank checks them daily, and they’re a lot harder for criminals to sneak devices onto.

If you must use an outdoor ATM, check it thoroughly before using it. For example, push down on the keypad and card slot to ensure that nothing has been put over the original devices. You should also cover your pin while you’re typing it, as some criminals place cameras to acquire PINs.

Other Steps You Can Take To Protect Yourself

There is another step you can take to protect yourself while traveling. Invest in one of our protection packages to ensure your safety even while you’re away from home. These monthly packages include free recovery sessions whenever you suffer from a hacking incident. Order our protection plan now to receive a year’s worth of protection for free.

Featured image by Rob Wilson from Shutterstock.com

William Worrall
A gaming and technology writer who has been building computers and tinkering with software since he was a teenager. Previously involved with various prestigious websites, including TechRaptor.net and CCN.COM. Now tutorial creator for Hacked.com.

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