Did you know that cybersecurity tools can save you while you travel? This is no exaggeration, as vulnerable devices can spell catastrophe for you, your friends, and your family! How, you say? Well, there’s much more than just one way this can take place. What is cybersecurity then, you ask? Well, that is an entirely different ball game that we also have to cover for you to understand and remember the types of tools you need to protect yourself. When we talk about cybersecurity, we mean the protection of digital and connected devices. You’ve heard of viruses? Those are the bad guys. You’ve heard of an antivirus? Now that is a cybersecurity program (the good guys) that fights the bad guys. In fact, an antivirus is just one tool among many that you should have running right now on your machine, whatever device it is that you have. 

Without cybersecurity tools at our disposal, the entire internet would probably collapse and every corner of it would be infected with malicious software. You also could not use your devices properly, because someone would be trying to sabotage you, steal your data, or otherwise every second. You could not conduct any online shopping safely, or enter your personal data online without fear of being spied on by an external actor. All in all, billions of us depend on the internet for our very existence. Some could not live without it, basically, as all of the fundamental life systems are now available to us online, and some of us like to live and work purely in the digital world.

For these reasons, it is critical to understand what cybersecurity protection is, and the tools you need to protect yourself while traveling. Travel is a vulnerable time when we all need the internet, and so we connect to unsecured WiFi hotspots. Also, people rush when they travel and are tired. This combination is deadly because it removes the focus from our device security to getting somewhere on time or not losing one’s luggage. This is exactly why protection is required.

What is cybersecurity protection?
Cybersecurity protection refers to the knowledge and tools required to protect and maintain the security of digital devices. This is particularly important because all devices today can connect to the internet superhighway, which is a very dangerous place to be without the proper protection.

Now, as for that protection. Cybersecurity tools are various and many. Some examples are; antiviruses, antimalware suites, firewalls, Virtual Private Networks, safety extensions, privacy-focused applications, and much more. Thankfully, most cybersecurity protection solutions are available to us either for free or for a very low cost these days due to the way supply and demand and the digital economies of scale function.

Which tools are required for your travel protection?
Now, we come to the juiciest part of the article: the tools. As noted above, there are several types of tools that one needs today to keep his or her devices secure. Moreover, awareness about how to keep your device secure and your privacy intact is also required, along with these tools. So, what are the tools that you will need, you ask? Well, that depends on what device you are using, how often you use it, and what you use it for. Most of the time, we most frequently access our smartphones while traveling. A much smaller percentage of people open up their laptops and get to work.

Whatever the case may be, most experts would agree that having the following suite of cybersecurity tools is essential while traveling;

  • A Virtual Private Network or VPN
  • An antivirus suite
  • A malware suite
  • A privacy-focused browser

Now, you must understand the importance of purchasing premium subscriptions for these services above. The free ones will leave you dead in the water when you need protection the most. Remember, you need all of these tools on all of your devices. Also, do not be apprehensive about reading reviews of these products, as there is a lot of helpful information and third-party review sites out there.

Apart from tools, what is the attitude one should have while traveling?

  • Always think of security as something from the ground up, at every layer
  • Avoid connecting to the internet if you do not trust the internet connection (or use a VPN)
  • Avoid oversharing information about yourself on social media while traveling
  • Make sure that you use unique passwords for each account that you use
  • Makes sure that your passwords are as long as possible, and randomized
  • Avoid visiting shady websites
  • Avoid opening or interacting with emails you are unsure about

As you can see, there is quite a bit of cybersecurity one needs to get through. What is the purpose of all this, you ask? Well, let’s see what could happen to an unprotected user while traveling.

  • You could fall victim to ransomware which encrypts all of your files and does not return them unless you pay a fee
  • You could experience snooping on your connection by criminals or perverts
  • You might connect to an unsecured WiFi hotspot which means your device could be hijacked
  • Your money can be stolen
  • Your credit card information can be siphoned
  • Your social security number can be used in an identity theft scam
  • You could put your friends and family at risk via a domino effect

Like we said earlier, security starts from the ground up. This means that every layer of communication is vulnerable. Communication begins at the level of the internet connection, which could be a faulty or misconfigured router. Using any of the above cybersecurity tools would be useless if your router password security is not up-to-scratch, for example. Likewise, using two-factor authentication across your account does not mean much if your device is compromised with malware. For these reasons, it is a good idea to stick to the holy trinity of cybersecurity tools; a VPN, an antivirus, and an antimalware suite. However, you would do well to backup all of your sensitive data to an offline storage disk and ensure that no one other than you is logging into your accounts.

Photo by Frederik Lipfert on Unsplash