If you are travelling, there is a good chance you will find a Wi-Fi hotspot or your hotel will have free internet. Wi-Fi in airports, hotels, train stations, cafés and other public places may seem like an added bonus but these public hotspots are often not secure and leave you at risk. Follow these tips for internet security when you are traveling with your devices or using public Wi-Fi and computers.

Before you leave

Before you set out on holiday, there are several precautions you can take to make sure you are as secure as possible when you use the internet during your travels.

  • Make sure you have updated the antivirus protection and are running the latest version of your device's security software.
  • In case of theft, be prepared. Have a detailed description of your device(s) such as the serial number, make and model number and store it separately in your wallet or luggage. Also, take out travel insurance beforehand so you and your devices are protected.
  • Remember to back up your digital photos and other files frequently as you travel, so in case of an incident, you at least have a second copy.

Security tips for traveling with your own device

If you're taking your own cell phone or tablet on holiday this year, remember you will need to use an app that relies on WiFi or purchase a global SIM card to connect you back home.

Next, be aware that theft is a common issue in places like Europe. Avoid any issues by not carrying your device in your hand if you are not using it. Keep your phone or camera in your bag unless you are taking pictures or making a phone call. Most importantly, leave your valuables in your hotel room. Lock your computer, tablet, and important documents in the hotel safe.

To be prepared just in case your device does get stolen, make sure you set up maximum security to prevent a thief from accessing your personal data.

  • At the very least, set up a password or pass-code to protect your device.
  • Consider not saving your passwords for applications that have important information like Facebook, or email so you must re-enter your password each time you want to use the app, making it difficult for thieves to access your personal information in case the device is taken.

If you plan to access the internet on your own device while traveling, be protected from hackers with these tips.

  • Many devices have a file-sharing option. Turn this off before you use public Wi-Fi so people using the same network cannot access your files.
  • During your travels, only use legitimate Wi-Fi hotspots. Rather than checking your email on the street corner with any available internet, enter a café or ask the hotel for the specific name of their network.
  • Wi-Fi networks that are password protected are safer than any network that is open to the world.
  • If you must log in to a site with a personal login, it is best to do so on a hard-wired connection, such as using an Ethernet cable in your hotel room.

Internet Security when using a public computer

Public computers are often a lot easier than carrying around your own devices. They are also easy to find — look for a nearby internet café or ask your hotel if they have a computer for guests. However, you still have to be smart when using a public computer or any other public device.

  • Do not use a public computer for tasks that require a login. For instance, checking train times or museum hours does not pose a risk, but logging onto your bank account or checking your email can leave you vulnerable for theft or hacking.
  • If you have to access a personal account, make sure the Web browser you use does not store your login information and clear the history before you leave.
  • For certain accounts, like a bank or email account, set up a two-step verification process. That way you are required to enter your password and a second code whenever you log in.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and keep your screen out of view especially when you are entering any passwords or personal information.

If the worst does happen and your personal information is hacked or your device gets stolen, make sure you are prepared. Compare our plans to find the right Cover-More Travel Insurance to protect you and your valuables during your holiday.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Peter Harris; cropped from original