Data security is a major concern for travelers today, and with Russia hosting the World Cup this year, articles and stories about data security have been even more frequent in the media from Conde Nast Traveler to The New York Times. Funny, but not funny! We may listen to the warnings about data security breaches during this major event, but on a regular basis when we travel, most of us underestimate the risk to our personal data that comes with connecting to public, shared, or unsecure WiFi. Few people are suspicious of a luxury hotel’s lobby WiFi or would hesitate to send work emails from the public airport network, or at business conference event. But you can outsmart potential hackers!
If you are traveling abroad anywhere this summer, read this: Our 8 Simple Tips That Can Help Save Your Data.
Recent estimates showed that 87% of consumers had at some point potentially put information at risk while using public WiFi. And the scariest fact is that your data can be compromised by everyday activities, not just online banking, as many people think: simply logging onto your personal or corporate email from an airport lounge can give hackers access to an alarming volume of your personal data.
How they do it?
Harvard Business Review describes the two most common methods of hacking. “Man in the Middle” allow hackers to intercept traffic between a user’s device and the destination by making the victim’s device think that the hacker’s machine is the access point to the internet. The “Evil Twin” technique means setting up a malicious free WiFi network with a name similar to the one of the hotel or the airport. Being cost conscious about your data and recognizing the name of the hotel, you could innocently connect to the hacker’s network! As you surf the web or do your online banking, all your activity could be monitored by some shady characters.
What can be stolen?
- Your money — directly through your Credit Card information
- Passwords from your email that can help to crack your bank and get to your money
- Private pictures and videos that can be used to blackmail you to get your money
What can you do to avoid being hacked?
- Never do banking or online shopping on-the-go. That means anticipating and for all of your trip needs in advance, including paying for all hotels and train tickets from home. You’ll also need to calculate in detail how much money you will need during your trip, because you may not want to do online exchanges.
- Don’t use email or access your social accounts. Postpone communication to your family, friends and business. If anything urgent, they still can give you a real phone call as in the good old times.
- Protect yourself with a virtual private network (VPN). It would cost you some money and most likely slow down your connection. But better slow than sorry, right?
- Implement two-factor authentication wherever possible, so even if hackers get the passwords to your bank, social media, or email, they won’t be able to log in. Unless you lose your phone, too.
- Always stay alert while browsing. Look out for the encrypted HTTPS connection on every page you visit — as opposed to a lesser protected HTTP standard.
- Turn off the automatic Wi-Fi connectivity feature on your phone. Don’t let your device actively search for and connect to suspicious networks, while you are standing at the border control or relaxing in a bathtub in your hotel.
- Turn off file sharing. Your colleagues can wait and get an important document update or invoice a couple of days later. Or weeks, if needed.
- Use a Private WiFi connection - then you are able to keep connected to the important people and information in your life all on your personal, secure network.
Most of these options sound like a hassle and almost impossible, right? Maybe our last option stood out to you as a more ideal option? Instead of following all these steps 1-7, you can simply buy Skyroam Solis 4G LTE WiFi hotspot and powerbank and stop using public WiFi altogether! Skyroam Solis delivers you a safe, encrypted connection which means that your data goes to the carrier's highly secured private network directly before it reaches the public internet, whereas in the case of public WiFi, users data security is at the mercy of hotel and local merchant's IT person. With Skyroam’s data services and hotspots, you will be always in control of your own data. And yes, you even can carry your pocket-sized WiFi hotspot around, without locking you digital life within the hotel walls!