Whether you’re traveling for pleasure or for business you should be secure! The last thing you want when on-the-go is the stress of having your data stolen – physically or digitally.
Airports, tourists traps, hotels, and hostels are all hotspots for cybercriminal activity. Travelers are usually warned to be on the lookout in these types of spots and there are plenty of products promising to help keep you safe from pickpockets, skimmers, and scammers.
But do you really need all this extra security weighing you down? We want to save you some bucks and keep your luggage light, so here are our picks for what’s essential (and what’s not!) when you’re on the road.
What You DO Need to Buy for Traveling
VPNsBeing away from home means you’ll be using public wifi – but before you connect, turn on your VPN! The trick is to download a VPN for your mobile devices that will work in your vacation location. A good gauge of if it will work in most countries is to find out if it works in China, whose government is more determined than most at blocking VPNs. Read user reviews, Google your VPN, and research thoroughly before trusting that it will work where you want it to!
In addition to providing you with a more secure access to the internet, VPNs may also save you the annoyance of being blocked from certain websites. In many countries, especially in Europe and Asia, you may find that some of your favorite websites (Netflix, Facebook, Uber) are blocked. With a VPN you should zip right past any internet filters and onto the desired URL!
Wireless ChargerWith the proliferation and popularity of mobile devices, charging stations continue to pop up in some of the most unexpected, but ever-so-convenient places. So why would you even need a wireless charger? It never hurts to have one in case there are no available outlets to be found, but cybercriminals have started to take advantage of dying devices by juice jacking them. If you happen to plug in your charger to one of these faux charging stations or kiosks, the data on your device could be accessed and downloaded, or a virus may be uploaded onto your machine. Either way, you’re in trouble and a wireless charger is an easy way to avoid this altogether.
If you choose to forego a wireless charger, always examine the socket before you plug in your devices. Is it actually connected to something? Is it in a place that seems too good to be true? Is there anything else suspicious about it? Double-check that your device is actually charging as well. Better safe than sorry!
Privacy ScreenIf you’re planning on using your electronics in public, it doesn’t hurt, and doesn’t cost much, to add a privacy screen to cover your laptops and phones. Avoid pesky shoulder surfers, or just overly curious lurkers, from seeing what’s on your screen. If you’re traveling for work and there’s a risk displaying confidential information in are in a public area and you absolutely cannot wait until you are in a private location, these are an essential to maintain privacy!
What You DON’T Need to Buy for Traveling
RFID-Blocking AccessoriesYou can purchase almost any type of luggage with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Blocking capabilities. For a bit more money, there are wallets, totes, purses, backpacks, suitcases and more products all promising to help protect you from RFID skimmers, but do you really need. But do you really need to spend more when not a single crime involving an RFID-enabled device has been reported in the public domain?
RFID skimming is a possibility, the technology allowing it to happen does exist and much RFID-Blocking gear does really block RFID waves. It doesn’t hurt you to buy a wallet with RFID protection, but you probably don’t need a jacket and fanny pack and pants that are ALL RFID blocking. We aren’t saying you should or you shouldn’t, but why spend the extra money when the crime just isn’t happening?
Theft-Proof Bag (DIY Your Own!)While a theft-proof bag may save you from being pickpocketed, a bag filled with gadgets to keep others from slipping in won’t prevent someone from just taking the entire bag! It may not be worth it to buy an expensive, bulky, theft-proof bag when you could DIY your own backpack or purse to be pickpocket-proof! Try one of our ideas below, or Google more DIY theft proof solutions:
- Make the zipper harder to unzip by attaching a carabiner or a keyring to the zipper and hooking it onto the strap of the bag. Or try this super secure method!
- Make your bag slash proof by sewing plastic cutting boards where thieves might cut into your bag to slip out your devices.
- Attach your wallet or phone case to an interior zipper in your bag with keyrings. This way, no pickpocket will be able to pull out your valuables very easily.
Cybercriminals have many ways to get to your data to your data digitally and physically – they can hack into your devices or take them off your person. It’s important that you take necessary precautions to keep your data safe, but you don’t need to weigh down your bag or spend extra bucks on over-the-top tech gear. All you need to do is travel smart by staying aware and cautious!