Most people now travel a lot more than a few decades ago, whether it’s for work or simply pleasure. It’s simpler, easier and cheaper and in fact many of the inconveniences of travel have been made a lot simpler too by the internet. Most of us have either laptops, tablets or smartphones that keep us connected to the internet wherever we go. We can pay bills, check our finances even order our shopping online even when thousands of miles away all by logging on to a few websites and checking our email.
Thanks to the internet, travelling away from home no longer needs the planning it used – remember worrying about prepaying bills or transferring money into different accounts. The reality is that for most facets of our life, sitting in a hotel in Italy and your own living room have little difference – the internet is there for so many practical needs.
There is a concern though, the internet is incredibly useful but at no point can it really be described as secure. Emails, web requests and messaging services are often completely insecure data being transferred in clear text across the network. In some senses when you’re at home it’s not such a risk but when using that dodgy hotel wi-fi the dangers become very real.
Which is why it’s worth considering using a VPN program when you travel. The Virtual private network might sound a little geeky but it’s the one way to add a substantial layer of security to your internet connection. What’s more it has other practical uses too – bored with hotel satellite channels, just read this article for a solution – Does BBC iPlayer Work in Ireland. The article refers to one of the issues with using the internet while travelling – region locking. That is the technology that blocks access based on your physical location not your digital one, so you may find that your online banking only works in your home country as a fraud prevention method for example.
There are a host of other options for bypassing region locking when you’re travelling, many people opt for things like this – US DNS Netflix. Which is basically a method of using a specially configured DNS server to intercept and redirect specific traffic in order to hide your real location. It is important to remember that none of these actually provide any security like a VPN. Just like tourists are often a target for pickpockets in large holiday cities, they are also targeted in a digital sense too.
Cyber criminals know that the tourist sitting with his tablet in a bar in Corfu is very likely to be using his webmail account, logging in to his online bank to check funds or a host of other ‘housekeeping tasks’. These are the sort of sites which digital criminals seek access to simply because they can make money from them either by stealing directly or selling account details for privacy theft.