Now that summer season is here, it is time for people to finally pack up and take a break. With all the smartphones, digital accessories, tablets and whatnot, staying in touch with friends and relatives back home, or navigating one’s way around anywhere has become easier than we could have ever imagined. However, as technology relieves us of most of our burdens and makes it easier to travel to far-flung places, a recent survey carried out by F-Secure has shown some results that need to be pondered upon, and areas of technology that require further attention while you hit the road.
Public Wi-Fi & Internet Cafes: What You Need to Know
During traveling, many of us are tempted to use public Wi-Fi hotspots such as airports and restaurants etc. to stay connected to those around us, while ignoring the security and privacy risks associated with doing so. According to Sean Sullivan – Security Advisor at F-Secure Labs – public Wi-Fi networks should be considered as public, and nothing else. Because of the fact that they are public, there might be a possibility that someone is spying on your online activities with the help of a readily available software. “It may feel private because you’re using your personal device, but it’s not,” says Sullivan.
It is advisable not to use public Wi-Fi spots or public computers for logging into your bank account or shopping online. “I use public Wi-Fi happily for a topic I would discuss with a friend on the metro. Banking, I do at home,” Sullivan says.
Similarly, public computers are not advisable as well, such as those present in libraries or internet cafes. They are only recommended for activities that do not pose any privacy risks, such as browsing through the news.
If you have to use a public computer or public Wi-Fi to connect to your friends and family, Sullivan recommends creating a separate e-mail account that is specifically meant for this purpose when you are on a vacation. “That way if someone hacks your vacation email account, they might see emails with your mom and the cat sitter, but they won’t have access to the other sensitive data that would be in your main email account,” he says.
Need to make a transaction while you are on vacation? You must definitely steer clear of public computers and Wi-Fi, and instead rely on your mobile network’s data plan to do so. Though costly, it is a much safer option that would keep eavesdroppers and hackers at bay.
It is often argued that accessing a bank account is usually safe even if done through public Wi-Fi, because banks use secure https connections; however, why take a chance with it? What if you use the same password for your bank account and an unsecured site, or if someone simply catches you entering the password on your device in a public area? You may find yourself in deep waters as it can cost you hundreds of thousands dollars.
Keep Your Data Safe While Traveling
The data on your device is much more valuable than the device itself, therefore you must maintain a backup at all times, especially before you leave for vacation. Alternatively, you could use a content synchronization device that would let you share photos with friends privately while you are on vacation, without the need to carry around large storage devices. Another great option is to save your data onCloud and share it with anybody you like.
Locate a Lost/Stolen Device
As more and more people rely on their gadgets and smartphones for office as well as leisure activities, taking care of them becomes all the more important. Thus, make sure to put in place some essential security measures to protect your data in case your device gets lost or stolen, such as a password-protected screen that activates automatically after a specified period of say, 30 seconds or a minute.