When you are traveling then you have to rely on public Wifi. Your online security is constantly compromised whenever your online, be it from McDonalds or Marriott wifi network. This is a comprehensive guide on How to protect your data and identity while traveling
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Protection on the web
- Private Mode within browsers: This is the most basic form of security which everyone has to implement. When you are browsing then always browse using the Private browsing mode offered within browsers. In Google Chrome this is called as Incognito mode, Safari browser calls in Private mode, IE and Firefox calls it InPrivate browsing. Your browsing history and cookies will not be stored on your device once the browser is closed. Hence online marketers wont get access to what you were browsing. Also google search results are much better or unbiased since it will not give results based on what you were browsing in the recent past. Especially if you are accessing a PC in library or netcafe then this is the way to go.
- Use TOR Browser: For complete anonymity always use TOR Browser Other than all the advantages of above bullet point you also get complete anonymity from your location. Another big advantage of using TOR Browser is that you can always run it from a Flash Drive and there is no need for it to be even installed on your PC
- Use VPN: For all the above benefits + data encryption always use a VPN. In layman terms all the requests that your browser sends over the internet will be encrypted as well as your identity is completely anonymous. Especially use a VPN for all financial transactions on the internet. We strongly recommend to use either TunnelBear or VyperVPN. They both offer limited data between 500 MB -1 GB (depending on the current promo going on) for free every month.
- Antivirus and firewall on the system: Probably the most important piece of software which you should be installing on your machine. While both AVG and Avast antivirus do a great job with their free software, still they lack some key advanced features like protecting your device online. An antivirus software just scans your hard disk. However a complete internet protection pack protects your email, encrypts data, provides firewall for online transactions etc. A free antivirus is good for a standalone device but when you are constantly on the move then you should always consider a paid upgrade. You should also at all times protect not just your laptop but also all android and iOS devices as well. We have been using Kaspersky and are really happy with the product. You can also think of buying McAfee or Norton. There are constant offers going on and choose the one which suits your needs. TODO: Antivirus Affiliate links
- “Always use HTTPS” for social media: All major websites like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail etc. by default give you an option to access your account with HTTPS instead of HTTP. HTTPS adds another security layer and is highly recommended. Check that whenever you are accessing all of your social accounts then the URL should start with https:// rather than http:// . Help can be easily found online to enable HTTPS on each account.
- Cloud storage: An absolute must for backing up all of your important data especially personal documents, photos and videos. Although there is a plethora of options always choose a provider which has a very big brand and your accounts/ devices are aligned with its eco-system. First of all choose only from Apple storage, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box.com, Amazon Cloud services or Microsoft OneDrive. There are cloud storage services popping every day but you have to be very careful with your personal data and trust only the big guns. Remember even celebrity accounts on Apple cloud storage were hacked. Another point to consider is that if all your devices are iOS or Android based then choose accordingly. All of them offer few GB of free data and each has its own pros and cons. It’s good to test and compare before making your final decision since its a big pain to move later from one account to other. We trust Google Drive and Dropbox.
- USB Drives with protection: If you have to copy any personal or highly secure data on USB Flash drives then always buy USB drives offering encryption or password protection. Sandisk has its own SecureAccess Software and Kingston offers personal data security. Buy from Amazon USA or Buy from Amazon Canada.
- Auto & manual Backup on Windows, Android and iOS: The 3 top operating systems provide the feature to auto backup your photos on their cloud storage. Always enable it on WI-FI only so that you save on data. Once your data is backed up then delete it from your device. This will clear space on your device as well as protect it.
- Hard Drive Encryption: Microsoft now offers an excellent data encryption tool by the name of BitLocker in Windows 7 and above. With this tool you can encrypt an entire volume. You can also encrypt external hard drives with it. Similar you can use FileVault tool on Mac OS.
Physical/ Hardware protection
- Waterproof/dust proof covers and mobiles: Either buy waterproof and dust proof mobiles like Sony Xperia or Samsung Galaxy series or else you can buy waterproof covers for your existing electronic devices.
- 2 step authentication: This is the most recommended way to secure all your major online accounts like Gmail and Faceboook. Just download an app like Google Authenticator . Add your account on it. The instructions are very simple and easy. Each time you are going to sign in to your account then a code will be displayed on your app. Enter the code alongwith your password for an additional layer of security
- Use of USB Security Key: Instead of using an app like Google Authenticator, you can always use a USB key. This way you do not need your smartphone with you each time. You can add as many accounts as you wish on the USB Drive. We use and highly recommend to buy the Fido U2F Security Key. You can buy it from Amazon USA or Amazon Canada or Amazon India
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- Use Password Management Software: I have already described in detail one of the available free password management software – Norton Identity Safe. You can also check the popular ones with premium paid features like LastPass and RoboForm
- Amit Agarwal is an award winning and the most popular Tech Blogger from India. He created a very simple tool to generate all your passwords. Give a shot to http://ctrlq.org/passwords/. Change all existing passwords using the same tool and then save them in your password management software There is chrome app for this as well
Identity theft and fraud protection
- Premium account of Equifax and TransUnion: Buy a premium account of Equifax and TransUnion. Other than tracking your credit score it offers host of benefits like re-issue of credit cards, passports when lost, online tracking of your credit cards if being misused and an Identity Theft Insurance.
Protect data when device is lost or stolen
- Always enable fingerprint identity proof if your device supports it
- Apple provides Geolocation and Auto Erase (all sensitive data is erased). Always enable these features
- Android provides a lot of free apps which provide similar features like Wheres My Droid, PlanB, Lost Android
What are some of your best techniques for protecting your data. Do let us know in comments section
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