Threats You Might Face When Travelling
As the international borders have opened up again following the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re all looking forward to traveling again. Going abroad, whether it’s for business or tourism, is always exciting.
However, there are some dangers that you could be facing when you’re abroad. Aside from the usual tourist scams, there are cyber threats that you need to be aware of. This is often the last thing that people tend to prepare for before going overseas if they even prepare for it all.
There are a few essential safety measures that you should have in place before you travel overseas. You need to make sure that you use a VPN to stay safe abroad. If you’re unsure of why your devices need cybersecurity measures in place before you travel, make sure to keep reading and find out.
The Dangers You Might Face Abroad
As exciting as it might be to go overseas, we still need to be incredibly careful. It’s not just about keeping your passport and your wallet safe these days, cybercrime is more common when you’re abroad, and cyber criminals tend to target tourists or any foreigners in their area.
There’s a very good reason for that too. If you’re in a foreign country, your mobile data plan likely won’t be working. To prevent expensive roaming charges and a huge data bill, people usually have to rely on WiFi when they go abroad. In our connected society, it’s nearly impossible to go without an internet connection — whether that’s checking up on your social media feed, reading emails, or even keeping an eye on your finances with online banking.
The easiest and most convenient way to get connected to the internet in a foreign country is to use a public WiFi hotspot. These convenient (and sometimes free) public WiFi hotspots are a great way to get quick and easy access to the internet to do whatever you need to. They’re most commonly found at airports, hotels, and restaurants.
Because of their convenience, they usually attract a lot of foreigners who are desperate to get online for a few minutes, and hackers know that this is the case. The main problem with a public WiFi hotspot is that it has an unsecured connection.
Unsecured connections allow anyone to connect to them, but they also expose you to the threat of cyber attacks. Hackers can “listen in” on your device and see everything that you are doing — even when you’re typing in passwords or sending and receiving important messages.
This digital eavesdropping has become increasingly common in our modern society, and it’s caused headaches for many people around the world. Not only is it a serious invasion of privacy, but it also puts your security at risk as cybercriminals can steal passwords or send your phishing scams.
What is a VPN?
The solution isn’t to be bullied into avoiding public WiFi hotspots. There is a way that you can use the WiFi without appearing on the network and becoming a target for the local cybercriminal. All you need is a handy cybersecurity tool installed on your device, known as a VPN or Virtual Private Network.
As the name suggests, a VPN will create a private network by encrypting your internet connection. This will prevent anyone from seeing what you are doing on your device, even if they are on the same unsecured network. Not even your internet service provider or the government will be able to keep track of your internet traffic, making a VPN the ultimate tool when it comes to online privacy.
Using a VPN is important, and you need to ensure that it’s active if you’re on any network other than your own. Using a VPN on your home network can also be helpful if you want to ensure maximum security and privacy.
Another helpful feature that a VPN has is that it allows you to change your IP address. To the average person, this might not sound like a big deal, but this essentially means that your device can change its location. For example, if you’re in Germany, you can use a VPN to access the internet as if you were in the United States.
There are several benefits to this which we will discuss in more detail below, but this also gives you added privacy. For example, it prevents criminals from tracking your movements and your physical location.
Other Travel Benefits
Using a VPN has more benefits than simply encrypting your network and keeping your devices safe from cybercriminals. The ability to change your device’s location gives you another element of freedom when traveling.
Changing your IP address will allow you to bypass geo-blocking and internet censorship. These two elements have become more and more common in our modern world, and they can be incredibly frustrating when you encounter them. However, while using a VPN you can simply connect to a secure server in another country or city around the world and access the internet as if you were in that country. This will give you access to all of the websites that you were unable to access beforehand.
You can also find cheaper flights and accommodation when you use a VPN. Websites that allow you to book flights and accommodation will discriminate based on your location. For example, if you are located in a first-world try with a strong currency — such as the United States, for example, you will be charged a higher price for flights and accommodation.
Instead, try setting your VPN to the country that you are planning to visit, or even a third-world country. You’ll notice a big difference in the price tag for the same flight or the same hotel. This is a simple tactic that ensures that the websites make more money with “richer” countries, but still make sales with “poorer” countries.
The Most Important VPN Rule
When you’re browsing the internet looking for a VPN to install on your device, make sure to avoid the free VPNs. As tempting as it may be to use one of these free VPNs, it’s ultimately not worth it. Free VPNs have several drawbacks that will affect their performance such as slower connection speeds, more ads, fewer global servers to choose from, and even daily data limits.