We all know there are dangers on the internet at every turn – but when you’re busy travelling abroad it’s an easy thing to forget when using public Wifi hotspots and charging stations! Here are some useful tips to protect yourself against hackers and other nasty types when you’re on the move.

In association with Norton

Remember when you had to scrabble together change for phone boxes when you wanted to make a call home on holiday? Struggling with huge maps while trying to navigate somewhere new? It all feels like ages ago now that the humble smartphone, tablet and laptop have all become staple items of everyday life. Free Wifi in airports and hotel rooms has gone from being a paid add-on to the norm you’d expect from any trip. But is surfing in public hotspots as harmless as you think? Whether you’re planning a quick city break or a huge backpacking adventure, here are some useful tips and tricks to keep your cybersecurity top-notch and avoid being caught out by hackers and phishers that are lurking out of sight!

How to stay safe online when travelling

Updates | Security software | Wifi hotspots

VPNs | Public charging stations

How to stay secure online while travelling abroad

Tip 1: Avoiding safety loopholes with regular updates

Before you head off on holiday, you can already take a step in the right direction in terms of protecting yourself from online scams and attacks. Take a look at what you have installed and update your software and all of your apps to the newest version – any security flaws that were previously identified in older versions will be patched out.

Tip 2: Install anti-virus and firewall software

While this might seem a bit annoying at first, it can really come in handy in sticky situations. Having anti-virus programmes and firewalls installed will be a massive help, especially if you’re a frequent traveller.

Guru tip:

Norton, one of the global leaders in consumer cybersecurity offers several Norton Security packages:

  • Standard (PC, Mac or mobile)
  • Deluxe (5 devices)
  • Premium (10 devices)
  • Deluxe & Free Norton Sercure VPN*

Anti-virus and firewall programmes are mostly known for making things much more difficult for hackers. But there’s another important advantage to having them installed: should your phone, tablet or notebook get lost or even stolen, you’ll be able to quickly and easily locate each missing device. Security software can even help you to delete important files and data on them as well, preventing strangers or thieves from gaining access to your passwords, e-mails and social media accounts. Norton Security for example, helps shield you—and your private information—against viruses, ransomware, malware and cybercriminals.

Tip 3: Avoid public wifi hotspots (when possible)

It’s always a fantastic feeling when you find a free Wifi hotspot abroad and all of your notifications and e-mails start raining in – or you can finally start sharing some lovely snaps on Instagram! But you’re not the only one who’ll be happy. Open wifi spots are a frequent haunt of hackers looking for easy targets, and while they’re not particularly interested in all the gossip you’ll be having with your friends, they will be happy to get their hands on a few passwords. If you do use a public network for internet access, exercise a bit of caution and avoid checking your bank account or buying things online to minimise the chance of important data falling into the wrong hands.

Public wifi spots are commonly targeted by hackers, avoid them when you can while travelling abroad

Tip 4: Need Wifi? Use a VPN!

If there’s no getting around using public Wifi networks, then you should at least hook yourself up with a virtual private network – or VPN for short. They work as an extra level of security, making it harder for third parties to gain access to your valuable data. Safety first! As I’ve mentioned before, Norton offer a very reputable VPN, so if you’ve not been sure which product to go for, this would be my top recommendation!

Tip 5: USB charging stations are a no-go

Knowing that your phone is running out of juice can be a bit stressful, especially when you’re on the move in a destination you’re not all to familiar with. In situations like these, those public charging stations that you can hook your USB cable up to are a godsend – but there’s a huge flaw to them! They might provide your phone with that much needed power, but USB connections are in fact a two-way street. They’re one of the easiest ways for hackers to get into your files, and the worst thing about it is that you won’t even realise its happening! To avoid any potential disasters, consider investing in a powerbank – these days it’s dead easy to find a good deal for one of these and it should be an essential item on your packing list!

Always pack a power bank when travelling abroad, as public USB charging stations can pose serious security threats

Free wifi hotspots and USB charging stations are tempting, but by keeping these tips in mind while travelling you’ll be well-protected from the most common scams you might encounter when you’re on the road!

More handy tips and tricks for your next holiday:

*1st year introductory bundle offer – see subscription details.
This article has been brought to you in association with Norton.
If you like what you've seen on this page so far, why not check out our shiny new podcast. Holidayguru's Gurucast is our newest way to inspire and interact with you beautiful people. Here you can learn about new and exciting places, pick up some great tips on how to save on your travels and also listen to interviews with some of the world's most influential personalities. Happy listening! :)