From unsecured public WiFi networks to sophisticated phishing scams, the cybersecurity threats for travellers are ever-present. As vacation season begins, how can you prevent your identity from being stolen and enjoy your time away in peace?

Trevor Cooke, the online privacy expert at EarthWeb, offers practical tips to help travellers protect their identity while on the go.

What Are The Risks?

Unsecured Public Wi-Fi Networks

One significant threat to travelers is the use of unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, which are often found in hotels, cafes, airports, and other public spaces frequented by tourists. Although they may seem convenient, these networks present a myriad of problems. They lack encryption, making it easy for hackers to intercept data transmitted over them, such as login credentials, credit card information, and other sensitive data. Hackers could commit identity fraud using these stolen details.

Travel Phishing Scams

Another risk factor is the prevalence of phishing scams targeting tourists. Trevor explains, ‘Cybercriminals may send deceptive emails or create fake websites impersonating legitimate businesses, airlines, or hotels to trick travelers into providing their personal information.’ These phishing attempts often exploit travellers’ urgency or desire to secure deals on accommodations, flights, or tours, leading them to unwittingly disclose sensitive details like passwords, financial data, or passport information, which criminals can then use to pretend to be them.

Lost Or Stolen Gadgets

Moreover, the risk of lost or stolen devices poses a significant threat to travellers’ digital security. If a smartphone, tablet, or laptop is misplaced or stolen, it can provide unauthorized access to a treasure trove of personal information stored on the device, including emails, photos, banking apps, and social media accounts. Without proper security measures in place, such as strong passwords, biometric authentication, or remote wipe capabilities, lost or stolen devices can become a gateway for cybercriminals to exploit.

Trevor’s Expert Tips To Protect Yourself

Protect Yourself On Public Networks

‘When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, always use a VPN to encrypt your internet traffic,’ advises Trevor. VPNs create a secure connection to the internet, protecting your data from prying eyes and potential cyber threats, allowing you to use public networks on your travels without a worry.

Make Your Account Protection Doubly Strong

Enable two-factor authentication wherever possible, especially for online accounts related to travel bookings or financial transactions. 2FA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password.

Ditch Public Computers

‘Avoid using public computers or shared devices for accessing sensitive information or logging into personal accounts,’ warns Trevor. Public computers may be infected with malware or compromised by hackers, putting your data at risk.

Keep An Eye On Your Finances

Regularly monitor your financial accounts for any unauthorized transactions or suspicious activity. Keeping a close eye on your bank statements and credit card activity can help detect potential fraud early on, allowing you to block your card or get in contact with your bank quickly to have them freeze your account.

Safeguard Your Personal Information

‘Be cautious when sharing personal information or sensitive data, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks or completing online transactions,’ emphasizes Trevor. Avoid entering sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card details, on unsecured websites or over unencrypted connections.

Trevor wisely advises, ‘Stay vigilant, stay informed, and stay secure while traveling. Your digital safety is just as important as your physical safety.’