Did you know hackers can steal your personal data at airports? Here’s why you must use a VPN service whenever you travel.
According to USA Today, hackers are coming after your personal data, your credit card information and your loyalty points and travellers going on vacation are especially vulnerable.
In 2019, Jill Frankfort, a teacher from Boston lost 150,000 American Airlines frequent-flyer miles and didn’t find out about the break-in until months after the crime, when she tried to redeem her miles for an international trip.
CNBC reported that millions of travellers are vulnerable to cyberattacks if they join public Wi-Fi networks in airports. Public networks are available almost everywhere and hackers regard them as one of the easiest means of gaining information about users.
Hackers can steal your personal information by targeting your cell phone and where you plug in your USB charger to charge your devices at airports. They modify the USB outlets with devices that drain your data the moment you connect your phone.
They can be both protected and open for any user to connect to; that means some of the networks have login portals, whereas some don’t.
In this article, you’ll learn why you need to be very careful when browsing public networks. You’ll also get online and mobile security tips on how to protect your devices while accessing content the next time you go on vacation.
Why are public networks vulnerable?
Imagine you went to a cafe and connected to an open network that didn’t ask you for any login details. In this situation, you need to be very careful while entering sensitive information.
You need to be very careful of what you’re doing on the public network as many people are using the same network simultaneously. It’s very likely that a hacker is waiting for network users to submit sensitive information so they can use it.
Not only your login details but any information stored on your device can be stolen if the hacker knows how to implement a man-in-the-middle attack or any other dangerous modes of attack.
This happens because your presence in the network can be easily detected, and it’s relatively easy for a hacker to access your device using a public network. You could suffer a massive data loss if you ignore the fact that public networks are not secure.
Using a VPN to protect your device
Let’s elaborate on how your device is protected using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). What’s a virtual private network? A VPN creates a local network that is capable of sharing the files like a private network. It lets you become completely anonymous while browsing the Internet.
Why use a VPN? If you use a VPN, you minimize the risk of online attacks. Your data can be secure and you can browse safely knowing that your VPN protects your information.
Other useful aspects of using a VPN are the additional benefits of maintaining anonymity and being able to access censored information from anywhere in the world.
What does a VPN connection do?
A VPN allows you to create a local network through the Internet without the need for its members to be physically connected.
You get the advantages of the local network with greater flexibility because the connection is through the Internet and can, for example, extend from one end of the world to the other.
The primary purpose of a VPN is to keep yourself anonymous while browsing the Internet and protect your privacy.
How to choose the best VPN service
As we recommend in these online and mobile security tips, never use a free VPN service provider and also avoid the cheapest VPN service. A free VPN connection can prove more expensive in the long term and may not give you the protection you need.
Always go with the best-paid VPN service that gives you the features you need. The best compromise is to use a free trial VPN so you can check if it works for you before you purchase it.
If you live in India, check for the best VPN service you can use. Many providers offer a VPN free trial and you should be able to buy VPN protection for unlimited devices with one membership.
At first, you need to look for the features and the compatibility of the VPN. Check if the User Interface is clean and friendly. The main concern you need to factor in is whether the VPN has the location from where you want to browse the web.
Also look for an encrypted VPN service as that will add a layer of security for banking and financial transactions. Finally, you need to look at their customer support and pricing. Also, check to see if your VPN provider has a money-back guarantee.
Which is the best free trial VPN?
In other countries, Cyberghost, Nord, and Proton VPN are the best free trial VPN providers. So, you can test them during your trial period and buy any from these three for your platform.
Cyber Ghost VPN provides you with a single day of utterly free trial without asking for any credit card information. It can be used on Windows, MAC, iOS, Android, Fire TV, etc.
Nord VPN provides a risk-free money-back guarantee of 30 days. It is also available on all the common platforms. Proton VPN has a seven days free trial and supports all the common platforms.
Access geo-restricted content while travelling with a VPN
If you’re travelling to another country, the content you love to watch may not be available in the new territory. One of the best options for accessing blocked content in a specific location is to use a VPN. When you connect with a VPN, your device communicates with the VPN server that communicates over the Internet.
So if you’re a digital nomad or a traveller who wants to watch your favourite shows on Netflix or Hulu and it’s been blocked in the country you’re travelling to, your free trial VPN can help you access it as long as you can log into a Wi-Fi network.
If you’re in China and the VPN server is in the United States, web servers will generally believe that you are browsing from this country, leaving you free to access the contents available only there, such as your favourite Netflix shows. And you can maintain anonymity, so you won’t be recognized while travelling as well.
In the same way, this same logic can be used to access content that is censored or blocked in your country, but not where the VPN server is located. It is how millions of Chinese citizens manage to connect to Facebook, and other 3,000 blocked websites in the country. So, viewing any content on the Internet is possible from any part of the world using a VPN.
An encrypted VPN service adds an extra layer of security
Logging in to your bank accounts while you are connected to a public Wi-Fi network that you do not trust is probably not the best idea in the world.
It is relatively easy for a thief to capture the unencrypted packets and get hold of your user accounts. Although it is not strictly necessary, most VPN connections will encrypt the packets of information transmitted.
That is where the extra layer of security that you can get through a VPN connection so that the hacker that is “phishing” won’t be able to do anything with them.
So it is reasonable to hear the recommendation that you must use a VPN if you need to connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot. You will not be tracked and your browsing data will be safe along with the login credentials after you log in to your VPN network.
It is essential to protect yourself while using a public network, where VPN can be the best choice. Also, while you’re travelling a VPN is the best choice to open restricted sites in your location.
If you’re worried about whether your VPN provides the best features, it’s the best decision to choose a free trial VPN. You can easily find many of the VPNs with a free trial.
Some of these free trial VPNs don’t even require your credit card information. Find one such VPN if you can as your card information is completely secure. We recommend this because some VPN providers can charge after the end of the trial period and do not respond to the inquiry of the buyers.
I hope you enjoyed this article on how to protect your data and devices from hackers and access geo-restricted content while travelling. If you found it useful, do share it or leave a comment below.
About the author:
Priya Florence Shah is the Group Editor at SHEROES and author of Devi2Diva, an emotional self-care book for women.
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