Did you know that when you plug your iPhone into a public USB port at an airport you might be putting your personal data at risk? By adopting a privacy-aware mindset when traveling, you can protect yourself from potential privacy problems such as identity theft, juice jacking, card skimming, and fraud. During each stage of your trip, there are easy steps you can take to protect your privacy!
4 Steps To Protect Your Privacy When You Travel:
1. Protect your privacy before you go
The best privacy protection begins before your trip even starts. Start by anticipating potential privacy problems ahead of time (like by reading articles such as this one 😉 ). By anticipating what future issues might pop up, you can take a few simple steps to protect yourself.
- Protect your devices. Depending on the nature of your trip you might be bringing a few devices with you like your iPhone or laptop. Be sure to set strong passcodes, backup up everything, and encrypt these devices. This will help protect your personal privacy in the event that your devices are stolen or accessed without your permission. You may also wish to enable apps that can locate a stolen device (like “Find My Phone”).
- Pack only essential sensitive documents. If you don’t need to bring cards or certain identification with you, consider leaving it safe at home. The more sensitive documents and identification you have on your person, the more you have to keep watch over. Packing lighter will help keep your traveling essentials close to you and easier to access.
- Make copies of your important travel documents. In the unfortunate event that these documents would be either misplaced, mishandled, or stolen; having a copy can be helpful in retrieving lost travel documents. Give a copy to a trusted friend or family member back home for safekeeping.
2. Protect your privacy at the airport
There are several moments during your time at the airport in which you should be especially privacy-aware including when you are connecting to the WiFi and charging your devices.
- Be wary of public WiFi. Public WiFi connections are less secure and easier for hackers to misuse for their own benefit. One way to circumvent this potential risk is by using a VPN on your device. This can create a more secure connection while you surf the web.
- Use a USB Data Blocker or JuiceBack Data Blocking Charging Cable when charging up your devices. When you charge up your devices at public USB ports, you might be at risk for juice jacking. Juice jacking occurs when hackers compromise these public USB ports so that they can steal your personal data or install malware onto your iPhone or tablet.
This Spy-Fy USB Data Blocker can easily fit into your packed bag. You plug your device into the data blocker and then can plug the data blocker into the USB charging port. The data blocker prevents files from being secretly transferred from your devices in case you plug into a compromised USB port.
3. Protect your privacy during your trip
- Passports are travel essentials, but a mishandled passport could lead to identity theft. Both at the airport and during your trip you should protect your passport. Know your rights when it comes to having your passport copied or handled. Having full scans of your passport could increase the risk of having your identity compromised. In early 2019, Marriott International faced negative press in the news after 5 million passport numbers were stolen by hackers. Spy-Fy has introduced a solution to this privacy problem with a passport cover that aims to prevent identity fraud. Their passport cover prevents others from taking a full scan of the Dutch passport. Sensitive information is protected and covered so that the passport holder is in control of who can see this data. An incomplete scan of a passport is much less useful for identity thieves. Perhaps this could be a global solution. (Read more about Spy-Fy’s Passport Cover here!).
- Protecting your cards when you travel can help keep you safe from card skimming. Using an RFID Blocking Card or an RFID Blocking Card Holder can keep your cards from being secretly read. This prevents identity theft and fraud. The RFID Blocking Card transmits a blocking signal which provides active protection to protect your data. Putting an RFID Blocking Card in your wallet is an easy way to protect your cards in your favorite wallet.
If you are looking for a new wallet, you might consider the RFID Blocking Card Holder to keep your cards safe and easy to access!
4. Protect your privacy after your trip
After your trip, there are a few steps that you can take to make sure your privacy stays protected.
- Check your bank and credit card account activity. During the weeks following your trip, double-check to make sure that there is no suspicious activity on your bank or credit card accounts from your trip. If there is, give your bank or credit card company a phone call immediately.
- Change your passwords. Just in case your passwords were compromised during your trip, it is a good idea to change the passwords used on your devices.
- Delete apps/data from your travel. Did you download apps or give data sharing access to different companies or webpages during your travels? After you trip, delete or stop sharing unnecessary information on these pages or apps.
- Make a privacy plan for your next trip! Consider what went well and what didn’t work as well during your trip. What would you like to adapt for your next trip? Were there any unexpected privacy problems you encountered? Although there are privacy risks that may be encountered when traveling, privacy-aware travelers can protect themselves using these four easy steps.