When used safely, the Internet is a real boon for travelers and vacationers: it's both a useful resource and great entertainment in one. If used insecurely, however, the Internet can become your worst nightmare; you may be at risk of damage and financial loss.
So what are the risks?Information leakage is a huge problem no matter where you live or what your status is. Leakage means that your data and information is lost as it travels over the Internet. For example, a social network such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube accesses your mobile phone/laptop/tablet to "improve their service for you.” However, when requesting access to your contacts, profile and other data "that may be required," they don't tell you that this information is often shared with other apps. Facebook, for example, is notorious for adding new apps to its platform and giving them all the information it has collected about you. Every time this happens, another server is involved in the process, another database you are in, and the chances of information leaking increase.
Hacking is also a big problem when using the Internet, especially if you are a wealthy person. Hackers can take advantage of known "weaknesses" in local networks to exploit you, direct you to fake or clone sites, steal your identifying personal information, bank accounts, and trade secrets, or inject malware into your system. Unsecured connections and weak infrastructure only exacerbate the problem.
Tracking geolocation is also a serious consideration, and there are several reasons for this. For the average person, geolocation or geotargeting means you can't freely watch streaming video over the Internet. Live streaming on many popular Web sites, such as the BBC and ABC, is only available in the countries where they are based. For some people, the word "geolocation" takes on a more sinister meaning. It can allow attackers to track your connections and access your devices, even determine your physical location.
If you are from a developed country, you may be used to relative security when using the Internet. There is a certain trust between you, the Internet service providers, and the government that allows society to work. Even so, connections are not as secure as they could be; they are open to anyone who wants to trace them. Being abroad increases the risk of being monitored online, as well as the risk of losing personal data and the risk of becoming a victim of hackers and malware. If the country you are in is known for its desire to censor, monitor or otherwise control the Internet, you are effectively asking them to watch everything you do every time you log in.
Why use a VPN when travelingBypass local Internet service providers
Even in a friendly country, there may be a person or agency that wants to monitor you specifically, or tourists in general, without thinking that information is already being collected at the ISP level. With a VPN, you bypass ISPs and anyone else who wants to monitor your Internet use and avoid any form of monitoring.
Mask the IP addressVPNs work in two ways. The first is by changing the nature of the data. Data is sent over the Internet in digital packets, as if in digital envelopes. These packets come with tokens that give information to servers, routers and individuals on the Internet. When you connect to the Internet without a VPN, your packets can be seen by anyone, your device's IP address will also be visible. The VPN works by repackaging data into new packets, as if putting a small envelope into a large one, and writing them new IP addresses on the VPN server. This way, you can be seen, but who you are cannot be known, nor can you be tracked down.
Avoid Internet censorship/interference by an "unfriendly" governmentAs crazy as it may seem, many people like to travel to what I will call "hot spots.” These are places where the government can be unfriendly or censors online content. So, unblocking nationally banned content by masking IP addresses and bypassing ISPs makes it possible to bypass censorship and avoid detection by unfriendly "hosts.”
How to keep your data safe while traveling? The best way is to use the Internet as little as possible, but if you do, try to avoid sending sensitive information (only if absolutely necessary). There are a few other things you can do to make sure you and your data are safe.
AntivirusAntivirus is always necessary, and the advantage is that you can take it with you wherever you go, because it is stored in your laptop or other device. This is the first layer of protection against attack, which is the cornerstone of Internet security, especially when using unknown and untrusted networks. Make sure your software is up to date.
Malware protectionThis is software that prevents websites and viruses from installing software you don't need on your computer. It works well with antivirus, but like most digital solutions, it too has drawbacks and some malware can still "break through.”
FirewallsA firewall is software that installs protection on your computer. It is a sort of border fence that prevents suspicious threats from getting into your device. When used in conjunction with antivirus and anti-malware, it is part of a trio of solutions designed to protect against viruses and attacks. The only drawback of this trio is that none of its members will hide you from prying eyes. If someone can see and wants to hack your computer, they will.
VPNA VPN is the final technical "chord" in keeping you safe online while traveling or on vacation. Like other solutions, a VPN is software that you can download to your devices and take with you wherever you go. It essentially hides you online, making you "invisible" to hackers, viruses and malware. A VPN can be used on your laptop or mobile device, so there's no reason not to install it.