Aussies love a holiday, but a lax approach to security when using public Wi-Fi could allow cybercriminals to ruin a relaxing time, writes Mark Gorrie Norton Lifelock ANZ security specialist.
Nothing ruins a good holiday like having cybercriminals compromise your identity or finances, yet Australians are letting their online security discipline slide when travelling overseas, putting them at risk of cybercrime. Jet-setting Aussies need to ensure they maintain their vigilance no matter where they are because while a cyber-attack is challenging at the best of times, it can be particularly troubling when you’re away from home.
According to Norton Australia’s Project 360 Data Report, travel is the number one situation in which Australians surveyed have used public Wi-Fi. This could place them at risk, as cybercriminals are known to create fake hotspots masquerading as legitimate networks to catch unsuspecting victims.
Obviously, public Wi-Fi can be extremely handy for travellers and more than half (59 per cent) of Australians surveyed claim to have used it at hotels, hostels, airports, or when overseas. While closer to home, 52 per cent of Aussies have used public Wi-Fi while out and about, whether visiting shopping malls, restaurants or bars, or the gym. While many public Wi-Fi networks may be safe, it can be very difficult to tell which ones will cause you trouble, so it pays to be vigilant.
So, how do you ensure that the convenient Wi-Fi network you’re considering connecting to is safe for you to use? You certainly don’t do it by limiting the amount of time you are connected, despite 83 per cent of Aussies surveyed who’ve used public Wi-Fi thinking this will help protect them. You also don’t reassure yourself that just because the network is in an established venue you can be assured of its safety. Not at all.
Instead, whether you’re embarking on an international jaunt, travelling interstate, or heading to a local restaurant or bar, using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) will help to keep you secure. Included in Norton 360 along with anti-spyware and antivirus protection, password management, PC cloud backup, and more, a VPN will automatically switch on whenever you access public Wi-Fi, keeping you safe and secure when you’re travelling near or far.
When choosing a VPN provider, here are some questions worth asking to ensure you get what you need:
- Do they respect your privacy? The point of using a VPN is to protect your privacy, so it’s crucial that your VPN provider respects your privacy, too. Look to reputable brands. They should have a no-log policy, which means that they never track or log your online activities.
- Do they run the most current protocol? OpenVPN provides stronger security than other protocols, such as PPTP.
- Do they set data limits? Depending on your Internet usage, bandwidth may be a large deciding factor for you. Make sure their services match your needs by checking to see if you’ll get full, unmetered bandwidth without data limits.
- Where are the servers located? Decide which server locations are important to you. If you want to appear as if you’re accessing the web from a certain locale, make sure there’s a server in that country.
- Will you be able to set up VPN access on multiple devices? If you are like the average consumer, you use between three and five devices. Ideally, you’d be able to use the VPN on all of them at the same time.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when you’re choosing a VPN provider, so do your homework to make sure you’re getting the best fit for your needs. Regardless of which provider you choose, your VPN will enable you to enjoy the convenience of public Wi-Fi safely and securely.