I don’t think there are many more exciting experiences than holidays. No housework, no routines, no daily grind – just fun and good times.
But when we are full of excitement and away from our normal routine, it’s often easy to forget the basics and that includes digital safety.
McAfee Australia recently undertook some research into the travel tech habits of Aussies and the results were a little concerning, especially when it comes to the biggest travel tech issue – Wi-Fi. It seems our ‘relaxed Aussie’ approach may be putting our online safety at risk.
The research shows that 44% of Aussies connect to Wi-Fi when travelling, out of these 42% use hotel Wi-Fi-, 35% use any Wi-Fi they can access, 10% use public transport Wi-Fi and 12% use Café Wi-Fi. And 32% of Aussies don’t check to see if the Wi-Fi connection is secure before connecting! So, it seems we are putting convenience ahead of our digital safety. While Wi-Fi is just so easy to use, using unknown services can make us vulnerable to scammers and targets for identity theft and malicious software which does NOT make for a relaxing holiday!
Giving up travelling is just not an option in my world – so here are my top tips for keeping you and your family safe when you travel.
- Avoid Public Wi-Fi Where Possible
If you absolutely have to use it then PLEASE do not conduct any banking, shopping or highly confidential transactions. Take a few minutes to turn off the file sharing option that is often turned on automatically on many devices and enable your firewall – most devices have one. But please only use public Wi-Fi if you have to!
- Consider a Travelling Wi-Fi device or a Portable Modem
I have a huge amount of data on my phone so when we travel we use this as our Wi-Fi. Yes, I have to limit my boys’ use of YouTube but it is safe and stress free. A portable modem is also a great investment – think of it as a Wi-Fi router in your pocket. You can use it anywhere and they are not expensive.
- Investigate a Virtual Private Network
If you are a regular traveler, it might be worth investigating a Virtual Private Network or VPN. I know it sounds complex but it isn’t really. A VPN allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the internet. It is also a great way of securing and encrypting your online activity when using an untrusted network such as public Wi-Fi.
- Turn Off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi When You Don’t Need It
Keeping these features turned on makes it super easy for strangers to slip into your phone. If they are on, hackers can see what networks you’ve connected to before, copy them and then trick your phone into connecting to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices that hackers carry around. Before you know it, they can steal your data, spy on you and flood your device with malware – all without you even noticing!!
So, please don’t take travelling off your agenda. Planning and anticipating a holiday keeps many of us moving forward! Just don’t forget the basics – protecting your digital assets is just as important as protecting your physical assets.