The internet is the backbone of our society. It’s how we live, work and communicate with each other in this digital age. But traveling can be a challenge for finding an available connection to use because they are often restricted or expensive at airports and hotels from what I know so far.”
“You need to make sure that you have good protection such as anti-virus software installed on your device before it even leaves home,” said Ross Brownson, director of security company Panaseer Technologies.
“Don’t put sensitive data on public Wi-Fi networks if possible” – these connections may not always protect information properly against eavesdropping by hackers who could then steal personal details such as passwords which give them access into bank.

  • Use a VPN
  • Surf the web on your phone’s data plan instead of using Wi-Fi
  • Enable two-factor authentication on your accounts
  • Turn off location services and Bluetooth when not in use
  • Use a public Wi-Fi network with caution
  • Keep your laptop close to you at all times
  • Encrypt all of your internet traffic with HTTPS Everywhere
  • Install TOR browser and use it to surf the web
  • Use encrypted messaging apps like Signal to communicate with friends and family
  • Avoid logging into any accounts you don’t need to while travelling, like social media or email accounts
  • Lock down your home Wi-Fi network
  • Change your DNS server settings

Importance of reliable Internet While travelling ABROAD

  • It’s not easy to travel without the Internet. It is used in a variety of ways,Including communication with friends and family back home;
  • Financial transactions such as banking online or booking flights on your phone app;
  • Business activities like scheduling meetings remotely or collaborating over chat programs while travelling for work trips abroad.
  • But perhaps one of its most important functions when traveling outside the country is emergency connection:
  • Being able to call an embassy should you need help from police services if crime occurs,
  • Getting medical attention quickly by having someone contact local hospitals and clinics through social media platforms where available–and staying connected during emergencies via live video streaming apps that allow users to give updates about their whereabouts post-disaster elsewhere at any time they’re free!!!
  • Understanding the native language,
  • Accessing transit routes
  • Booking cabs via phones,
  • Using maps to figure your way out.
  • Finding Customer care and reaching them for zillions of services.

When you’re travelling for leisure, adventure. Along with other necessities, people pack along their gadgets which are imbued into the very fabric of our lives and personalities. An average Joe packs a phone, laptop and one more favorite device be it Go-Pro or Digital Camera – anything that warrants an emotional attachment from time to time when they see themselves in photographs taken on these devices during moments throughout their journey; But this is not all there is to say about things brought along by travelers nowadays- Digital nomads have half their luggage stuffed with electronic devices ranging from laptops (with comprehensive software suites installed), portable hard disks(files uploaded onto them for easy portability) webcams (since we live in such selfie obsessed times), phones (not only do they help

Why we need safe and secure internet?

  • To Protect Digital Identity
  • Protect all our Accounts & passwords be it personal and work.
  • For Financial security,in the ever-moving digitized world.
  • To Protect out Personal photos,
  • To Secure Privacy, what we are surfing on our computer/phones.

How Hackers use WiFi to gain access to personal Devices

Every one agrees Free WiFi is a Crowd Puller. More Crowd means more sales!!!. Public WiFi are protected with Passwords which are open secret.
One has to understand once you are connected to public WiFi, it like sharing a common space; What ever you do is visible to every one.
Hackers are also present in the same room… scanning all over online activities.
What else a decent hacker needs, if he/she can ping your device

Accessing Public wifi gives cybercriminals a chance to hack into your system in various ways. Below are the pointers discussing a possible breach

Hackers can gain access to routers that broadcast open networks very quickly. Finding Loopholes and gaining full control of the WiFi router and its network. Thus, securing public wifi is a must, or else one shouldn’t connect to available wifi and access personal data when traveling.

Creating a WiFi Hotspot with a Genuine looking wifi SSID?

We create Mobile Hotspots, everyday, What stops anyone from creating a Genuine looking WiFi Hotspot at Airport or at Starbucks.

Once the hacker gets you hooked to its spoofed wifi, All you communication is plain and visible to him. He/she can trigger files/photos transfer, Heck can copy all the password stored in your browser and the job is done!!!

Once Connected to a Genuine looking WiFi. Hackers re-trigger Authentication. Most users don’t mind entering the WiFi Password, Which is an Open Secret in Public WiFi. But What they don’t observe is

  • WPA authentication might have changed to WEP.
  • WiFi Access may pop up message saying.. WiFi is asking permission to access networking ports
  • WiFi may ask to disable the firewall. These are things which is too technical for non security expert to understand. Once your Firewall is disabled or the protection level is reduced to low. You are a gold mine .

There is a belief that WEP/WPA are secure and once you have the password on the wifi you are safe.

WEP is known be weak and can be broken in real-time within minutes. WPA is more secure and cannot be hacked in real-time. But one should understand.

Both these Security measure are designed to protect the packet in radio.

Once the packet reaches the WiFi Access point or Router then the traffic is unencrypted. If Hackers have gained access to the WiFi router, Game over!!!. And this is very real. Most Free-WiFi providers never change the Default WiFi user-id/password.

Hackers may Look form Open Bluetooth Connections. Paring their Bluetooth devices and gaining access to photos, videos, browser cache and other downloaded files.

How to Prevent Your Self from Hacking

  • Bluetooth is the weakest link in your Device Security. The simple reason being, Blue tooth are not protected by Any Firewall, Anti-virus which may be running on your computer/mobile/tabs.
  • Especially when travelling abroad.
  • Don’t enable NFC. When visiting malls and other public places
  • Uninstall Quick file sharing applications. These Applications when not in use still run as background/tray programs.
  • Disable Auto Connect feature on WiFi. This may be annoying but while you are away from your usual Home/Office network.
  • Phishing is a easy catch when you are in an unknown environment. We may believe that banking website may look different when Accessing from another country. Hackers utilize this tool very effectively.
  • Hackers can also redirect you to phishing sites, which are illegitimate sites that look exactly like real ones. These phishing sites sometimes are managed by hackers themselves. This can unwantedly provide your login details to the hacker. So always pay attention to the website you are visiting while you are using wifi outdoors. Always pay attention to the https of the website you are visiting. HTTPS is the right one. If a website starts with “https,” it means it’s encrypted. If not, you should better back out.
  • It is easier to hack wireless internet than wired. 
  • WEP Secured wifi is the wifi with inadequate security. It is easier for hackers to break into this technology. One can easily hack the system by searching on the internet.

It is relatively easy for a hacker to break through this security, using some readily available techniques that can be quickly found on the internet.

How to I Secure & Safe Internet While Travelling Abroad

There are various methods which can be used to secure good internet while traveling

Buying a SIM Card with Decent Data Plan should be your 1st priority before leaving the airport..

travelsim.com offers Great international plans. You can buy them in your Home Country.

  • Enable International Roaming with Basic Data Plan on your local Number.(If you are from US buy a basic international roaming). This will be bit steep on the price but do keep the roaming with the basic data-plan handy. One of the reason is to be able to check emails/ maps and your favorite messenger…
  • Make sure to enable incoming call on your original number.
  • Till you reach your Hotel/stay you should have access to incoming calls from your local contact and your family.
  • Don’t Ignore the SMS!!!
  • Using SMS is a thing of past. But you will feel the need when No Internet and Outgoing calls work, Keep your options open.
  • VPNs are the most widely known Security option, which gives online privacy to the user by creating a Secure private network from a public internet connection.
  • VPN masks a phone’s IP address.
  • You can Access Public WiFi, Airport, Hotel WiFi,
  • Infact, If you have VPN installed on your Device you can access like your Home Network.
  • Both Wired & WiFi are secure. So can Plug your laptop to Ethernet port in your Hotel/Coffee Shop and Check your emails, do online secure transactions. Infact VPN allows you to Access you bank portals in different countries.

How VPN’s Work

A VPN works by creating a secure data tunnel between your Device and the VPN Server, VPN Server is provided by the VPN service Provider(NordVPN, SurfShark, OpenVPN). So Even if the data is intercepted in between, No one can understand the data, it is all gibberish,
Data is so secure that even the ISP’s(Internet Service Provider)cannot decode it. The is unencrypted only at the VPN Server.

VPNs are the most widely known Security option, which gives online privacy to the user by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPN masks a phone’s IP address. So accessing online steps of users is impossible. VPN protects against Data/ Identity Theft. Its data encryption does not allow the internet provider to access the data, making it impossible for hackers to access the data. Nor can a hacker determine where that traffic is headed; they can only see encrypted data directed to a VPN server, but not the actual website. It is best to help keep your confidential business information secure. VPN client software is used to Create & establish a secure tunnel between the Client device and VPN Provider. VPN works on Phones, Laptop, and Tablets. VPNs are also very easy to use. They are available in free or paid format. Each provider has its application and websites, which can set up VPN in just minutes. Nowadays, many mobile companies provide built-in VPN service in their plans. . There are many VPN applications available to use online.

Here is the list of Best VPNs available 

Here is the comparison between these 4 VPN options to select what’s best for you.

 Nord VPNExpress VPNOpen VPNSurfShark
Connection and Working speed.Fast enough to support HD streaming.Fast SpeedFast reliable SpeedFast reliable speed
Split Tunneling6Does SupportDoes SupportNo Limits
Supporting Servers and Countries5500 Servers and 59 Countries.160 Servers and 94 CountriesMultiple access servers.1700+ Servers and63+ Countries
Subscription Prices2 Year US$3.71/mth1 Year US$4.92/mth 1 Month US$11.95/mth 12 Month US$6.67/mth6 Month US$9.99/mth1 MonthUS$12.95/mthFree for 2 connections 12 Months US$2.49/mth6 Months US$6.49/mth1 MonthUS$12.95/mth 
VPN Feature comparison

Some of the notable strengths include Expansive Server Networks,

Double VPN technology for ultimate security. 

Unlimited data for Internet freedom. Features Split Tunneling lets you select apps you don’t want to run through the encrypted VPN connection. 

It can switch between TCP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol).

Runs its own private, encrypted DNS on every server, making the connection safer and faster. Network Locks keep your data safe in case of network drops.

Do not log traffic data and DNS queries. It lets you bypass throttling and buffering—best all-around VPN service. 

Access Server is based on open-source software means you can create clients for whatever platform or device without restrictions. It implements both client and server applications.

Access Server has a much more flexible model for client-side script execution than OpenVPN (OSS).

AS can be configured to have OpenVPN daemons listening on both TCP and UDP ports. Further, the client can adaptively try UDP first, then fall back to TCP if that fails. This is all an automatic Feature.

Features Bypass geo-restrictions: north or south, east of west, with 1700+ servers in 63+ countries, ensures worldwide coverage. 

Whitelist allows apps and websites to bypass the VPN.

Emergency failsafe Kill Switch keeps you private by disconnecting your internet if the VPN connection drops. Does not support Ads or any other malware.

PS: Using VPN may affect your location/local search results. Disable VPN when you are doing local search.

How to get the best out of VPN?

Using Raspberry Pi, one can create their own personal OpenVPN server at home with your own personal home internet connection. The only thing needed is a computer system that can function as its server and Raspberry is a cost effective option. Using OpenVPN software, it is easy to make your own server. OpenVPN is such an ideal choice because it provides free service, supports a large number of software. It’s a simple set up with a high level of stability.

  • Complete free option with Raspberry Pi with Openvpn.

Purchase a Secure Travel Router

  1. Travel Router

Renting a portable hotspot is most efficient when a group of people is traveling together. It is more secure than Public Wi-FI. Portable Hotspot are pocket-sized devices which are available to rent for your journey. These provide individual WI-FI connections around the world to connect to the internet. They support 3G 4G access. These are password secured hotspots, which can be used upto limited number of people.

We have curated a list of available portable hotspots for you to select from.

  • Verizon – Jetpack MiFi 8800L 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

It offers a 2.4-inch touch panel with a 4400-mah battery, which can last up to 24-hour usage without any need to recharge midday. It can connect up to 15 clients in 2.5 or 5.0 GHz simultaneously. The package also includes a pre-installed sim card.

Verizon – Jetpack MiFi 8800L 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

  • Pros
  • Long Battery Life
  • User friendly touch-screen GUI
  • Fastest 4G LTE technology
Jump to Details
  • Cons
  • Not compatible with 5G

Usage Time24 hours | Dimensions4.29 in x 2.64 in x 0.71 in | Weight5.36 oz | Screen2.4” touchscreen | BatteryRemovable 4400mAh, 16.7 WhrLiIonbattery | Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz

  • T-Mobile Alcatel LINKZONE 2

This is one of the Alcatel devices sold directly at the T-mobile website and stores.

Can connect upto 16 clients and also works as a Power Bank to charge your devices like laptop, phone, etc. This one also has a battery of 4400-mah and will last for almost a day with a single charge if only used as a hotspot provider.

T-Mobile Alcatel LINKZONE 2

  • Pros
  • Fairly cheap in price
  • Supports longer battery life
Jump to Details

  • Cons
  • Offers Slow connectivity
  • Management via web portal only

Battery Description4400 mAh | Dimensions4.13 in x 0.75 in x 2.6 in | Weight5.15 Ounces | PortsUSB Type-C | ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, UMTS,HSDPA,HSPA+,LTE | Processor: Qualcomm® MDM9207 | RAM: 1 GB | Maximum Expandable Memory: 0 GB | Wireless Network Technology Generations: Technology Generations3G, 4G, 4G LTE

  • GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE

GlocalMe G4 does not require any sim card to work but still supports 4G internet with 150 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload speed.

GlocalMe app to easily manage your hotspot and purchase data plans. Works for about 15 Hours with a 3999-mah battery. It is priced at 169.99$ with data packages for single, multi country and regional, global packages.

GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE

  • Pros
  • Internet coverage in 140+ countries
  • Long 18 hour battery life
  • No sim card required
  • Can connect up to 10 devices
Jump to Details

  • Cons
  • Data packages can be a little confusing to find what you need
  • Can be a bit expensive in price

Operation SystemAndroid 7.1 | Dimensions5.35 in x 2.84 in x 0.47 in | Weight6.7 Ounces | WLAN Standard2.4G; 802.11 b/g/n | MAX speedLTE: DL 150Mbps*/UL 50Mbps* | WiFi Connection: Up to 10 smart devices at the same time | Battery: 3,900mAh Li-Ion battery | Ports: Type-C USB / USB 2.0 port | Color Option: Black / White | Display: 5 inches LCD touch screen

  • Netgear Nighthawk M1

Netgear Nighthawk supports a large LCD screen providing data usage, mobile signal strength information. It can share wifi access with up to 20 devices. Netgear Nighthawk also supports all Sim Cards except Sprint Legacy Network. Works best with AT&T and T-Mobile networks. It has a large battery life of upto 24 hours and more with 5040 mAh power and also supports reverse charging for other usb devices.

Netgear Nighthawk M1

  • Pros
  • Easy to set-up
  • Excellent speeds
  • Great battery life
  • Connect up to 20 devices
Jump to Details

  • Cons
  • Larger than other mobile hotspots
  • Speeds not close to 1Gbps – yet.

ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem MDM9x50 | Dimensions105.5 mm x 105.5 mm x 20.35 mm | Weight240 Grams | Display2.4 inches | Network4G: 4GX LTE CAT 16, 4-band CA, 4×4 MIMO 700/900/1800/2100/2600 MHz 3G: 850/900/1900/2100 MHz | LTE: Down: 1000 Mb/s, Up: 150 Mb/s | Battery: 5040 mAh (removable) | Connectivity: 2×2 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi for up to 20 devices | External Ports: Ethernet, USB-A, USB-C, 2 × TS-9 connectors for external antennas | Storage: MicroSD card with media server/NAS capabilities | SIM Size: unknown | Colors: Grey

 

  1. WIFI with WPA 2 security.

WPA 2 security consists of Unique Password wifi and is the best form of WIfi connection available while traveling. But the con to this is, one needs a person of trust who has their own WI-FI access and has turned off WPS ( if turned on makes it easier to hack). This can be an available option if one opts for an Airbnb or stays at the place of someone they know.

2. Wired Internet 

These connections are pretty much secure as they are received by people with wired connections to data lines. For Hackers, it will be a bit difficult to work around wired network connections, but still, it is not impossible. There is still uncertainty as the same wired connection might be used by people next to your hotel room.

TIPS For Secure Internet

  • Smartphones and Tablets have an auto-connect option that searches for signals. It’s a good way to land on a wifi signal you shouldn’t trust. Turning off your auto-connect option will help you avoid those less secure options.
  • Best advice is to keep your Bluetooth device turned off. You have to avoid using Smart Watches, if you want work without fear of breach.
  • If there is an urgent need to use a public computer for a task like checking train routes, maps or opening hours for particular places, it is all good to use public computers for that. 
  • When it comes to personal accounts, one has to make sure to access them in a way that the service provider or the next person after you cannot access your id and passwords. 
  • Public Computers sometimes are filled with malware, so it’s advised to not connect your mobile phones or USB to them.

In conclusion, Internet Connections are more public than they seem. So to protect them, various trusted methods are required. Whenever connecting to the public internet, we are feeding our data to the hackers. VPN, International Data Plans, Modern Routers allows users to create a safe environment around to access all of the sensitive data. While traveling, only limited options are available to access the internet. Thus one can choose based on their preference. It all depends on your Personal Preference. If one doesn’t have any personal data, that can be a possible risk for them if it’s leaked or hacked; public networks work for them, But when you have all your personal and private data, the level of concern should be high.

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