Christmas is just one step away with an estimated 113 million+ visitors (opens in a new tab) Getting ready to head off to their vacation spot – right here in the US! More people are expected to move around the rest of the world.
Travel often means long waits at airports or stations, in cars, planes, ferries or trains. People are then more likely to connect to public Wi-Fi to stream media, watch YouTube videos, or scroll through their social media feeds without using up all their data. That’s where one of the best VPN services comes in handy and is a must-have this holiday season.
A VPN is software that spoofs your real IP address while encrypting all data leaving your device. This means hackers looking to break into your smartphone, tablet or laptop using a public connection won’t be able to do so.
Sadly, a recent survey showed that most people still Do not use such security software while connected to risky Wi-Fi. Read on as we explain everything you need to know in more detail.
41% of respondents don’t use a VPN at all
Ask any IT or network security professional and you’ll likely get the same answer: Gone are the days when you only needed a corporate VPN. In the current digital environment, every user needs a secure VPN to protect their online life. And, that’s especially true for those of you who regularly connect to open Internet hotspots.
Unfortunately, it turns out that most of us are still Do not follow this important privacy-friendly practice.
in the most recent Survey of 1,000 US users (opens in a new tab) More than half (56%) of respondents 18 or older said they do not use a VPN when accessing public Wi-Fi. Worse, 41% don’t use such security software at all.
While danger looms year-round, the stakes are higher during the holidays, when people are more likely to access the internet from different countries and/or public networks.
That’s why cyber security companies be careful (opens in a new tab) Behind its security, privacy, and identity theft protection solutions like its antivirus, Lookout Security, has compiled a list of the most common risks to keep in mind if you’re traveling this holiday season.
Here is the main content:
- Beware of unstable Wi-Fi connections: Yes, airports and train stations always provide tourists with their own free legal network. However, hackers may hide behind similar malicious networks to trick distracted travelers and steal their credentials. Watch out for names like “Free_Airport_Internet,” and opt out of the option to automatically connect to nearby networks.
- Using public USB charging stations can be dangerous: Yes, public USB stations can also be easily exploited by cybercriminals to infiltrate your device. Try to avoid crowded places. The same goes for using a stranger’s USB data cable.
- Don’t be fooled by travel-related phishing campaigns: As your vacation gets closer, you may receive updates via email or text message. Unfortunately, travel-related phishing scams can also be used by hackers to try to trick you. Be skeptical of messages that prompt you to click on dodgy links or try to give you travel deals that are too good to be true.
How a VPN can help
Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN is security software that hides your IP address location while protecting your data inside an encrypted VPN tunnel.
As we mentioned above, public Wi-Fi can be easily exploited by malicious actors to steal your data. By simply downloading and turning on your VPN, you will create a layer of protection around your most sensitive information. Then you can relax on vacation without worrying about your privacy.
A reliable VPN service is also essential for browsing the web anonymously under any circumstances and for preventing nosy governments and malicious actors from accessing your data. Keep this in mind if you’re going on vacation to a country with invasive surveillance measures.
Then, you should keep an eye out for features like a strict no-logs policy, strong encryption protocols, and extra security options like a kill switch and split tunneling.
As for how it works, a VPN is the perfect tool for accessing blocked social media platforms, apps, and websites. It’s also very convenient for keeping up with your favorite TV shows while abroad, or again to bypass the strict online censorship some countries enforce within their borders.
It is worth noting that authoritarian governments may block VPN usage. This makes it crucial even for travelers visiting these countries to opt for services that integrate with obfuscation techniques to evade these blocks.