Whether you’re traveling to London for business or leisure, you should never be careless and put your sensitive information at risk by failing to treat your cyber security with the care it deserves. The portability and hardware power of modern IT devices have made working from abroad a walk in the park, but with the lack of proper education, it’s easy to become a victim of hackers. Since such a catastrophe is preventable, there’s no reason for letting it happen to you. There’s plenty you can do: find a reliable VPN for the UK, get a good antivirus scanner, never leave your devices unattended, and do everything in your power to stay in control, including the following:
- Turn off auto-connect on your smartphone
If you’re a smartphone user, you’ve probably noticed that your phone automatically tries to locate the nearest Wi-Fi network and connect to it to preserve mobile data. While there’s nothing wrong with it per se, you risk being connected to an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot. Since almost every coffee shop in London offers these nowadays to attract more guests, the threat is far more common than one may think. By establishing an unsecure connection through these, anything you search for and receive over the network may be read by an unknown third-party. The solution? Either turn off auto-connect on your smartphone or research what the best VPN UK is. By using a VPN, all the data that enters or leaves your smartphone gets placed in an encrypted tunnel, rendering it utterly useless to those who would try to stick their nose into it.
- Keep your OS up to date
Everyone keeps talking about how important it is to keep updating your apps to the latest version to stay safe, and it’s true. Much in the same vein, you should strive to keep your OS up to date as well. Allow yourself to be lazy, and you risk opening yourself up to being targeted by hackers who love exploiting software vulnerabilities. Note: try to rely on secure Wi-Fi connections for large downloads if possible to keep your mobile data usage on the low-end.
- Rotate your passwords
Since hackers are constantly scanning for weaknesses and trying to brute-force their way into people’s accounts, you should rotate your passwords on a regular basis. There’s no need to make a big deal out of this, but changing your passwords at least once every couple of months is a good idea. But please make sure to change them after your travels – you never know when someone might have intercepted them. Typically, the best VPN will have built-in functionality that protects you from this as well, and some might find using a VPN much less frustrating than they’d expect in the first place.
- Never leave your devices unattended
People trying to glance over your shoulder is one thing, but leaving your smartphone out in the open is just asking for trouble. Traveling in the busy streets of London makes it easy for thieves to do their dirty work, and a mere second of lost focus is enough for someone to snatch your precious gadget right off the table. As if the material damage wasn’t enough, all of a sudden you’re forced to deal with the issue of losing any sensitive photos, videos, and documents. To prevent this from happening, put your phone away when you’re not looking.
- Disable location sharing
It’s not paranoia when someone’s out to get you. To illustrate an example, there have been known cases of burglars breaking into someone’s home because they knew that person was going to be out of town for a prolonged period of time. And they didn’t need to jump to any conclusions the old-school way by observing the neighborhood either. It turned out that a person was careless enough to share location data with their social media circles that were open for everyone to see. So either keep your social media under control or flat out disable location tracking altogether when traveling.
- Disable Bluetooth
Similarly to the concept of disabling automatic Wi-Fi connections due to the risk of having your device compromised, it’s a good idea to disable Bluetooth as well. Did you know that some hackers like to walk or drive around in London doing nothing but probing people’s devices for weaknesses all day long? By leaving your Bluetooth connectivity turned on, you’re inviting a hacker to break into your device, steal your data, turn it into a crypto-mining station, or worse. While you’re at home, this is much less of a risk because you’re stationary, but during your travels, it’s best to keep the Bluetooth feature turned off.
Traveling to London can be a great experience. While the modern connectivity has made our lives so much easier through countless apps that enrich our lives with seamless navigation and communication, the world of cyber security contains many pitfalls to steer clear of. By implementing what you’ve learned today, you’ll become better equipped to prevent being targeted by hackers who will most likely pick another victim instead.