Traveling can be a big part of people’s lives, whether they do it for business or vacation. In March this year, 1.1 million Canadians traveled abroad. Many people caution about the dangers of losing your possessions when traveling overseas, but how often does that conversation revolve around data protection?

A study done by the University of Phoenix found that less than half of respondents worry about cyber security risks on vacation, with 55% of people saying the need to use personal devices outweighs cyber security risks.

Source: Tripwire 

It’s always important to protect yourself while traveling. Failing to safeguard your data could lead to greater repercussions, such as giving hackers access to your personal information.

Five Ways to Protect Your Data While Traveling

Don’t use public Wi-Fi

Using free public Wi-Fi might be tempting but these connections are often not secure. This means that a hacker can easily log in and steal your information. Sometimes, these are fake hotspots set up by hackers. If you’re going to use public Wi-Fi, don’t log into your personal accounts or any website with sensitive or financial information. Keep the sessions brief and don’t save the Wi-Fi as auto-connect. Either use a password protected Wi-Fi, your own hotspot or a VPN for a secure connection.

Update your software

Make sure that you have the latest software installed on your devices while you are on your trip. This includes updating the hardware on your devices, apps, the web browser you use and any anti-virus protection you have. These updates often include security patches that help keep your device secure and protected from previous security flaws. You could be leaving your devices more vulnerable by not updating the software.

Avoid using Bluetooth

You may want to turn off your Bluetooth because it’s an entry point for hackers to connect to your device. Last year, 5 million devices were hacked via Bluetooth after a vulnerability was found in operating systems. If you do use Bluetooth, put your device in invisible mode. That way, it would be harder for hackers to discover your device.

Secure your accounts 

Before you go traveling, change your passwords to something more complex. Also make sure they’re different across devices. A recent study found that more than half of users reuse passwords. Don’t choose to auto-fill your passwords and change them again after you get home. Adding two-step factor authentication to your accounts can also keep your account more secure.

Back up important information

The best way to protect yourself is to not carry any devices with sensitive or important data with you. If you must, make sure your information is backed up. That way, you can still access your information if your device gets compromised or lost. You can either use a hard drive or a cloud service like Jolera’s Store I.T.™ that ensures your data is stored safely.