Cyber Security on Vacation: Don't Forget to Pack the VPN
It's time for vacation: relaxation, room service, fun in the sun, paying someone else to make your bed. Everybody needs that break from the real world occasionally, but don't take that whole relaxation thing too far and ignore your online security. In fact, vacation should be when you double down on your cyber security efforts. All those public Wi-Fi hotspots in airports and hotels equal unsecured, unencrypted connections, which equate to increased vulnerability for you. Of course, connecting via your Virtual Private Network every time keeps you safe from any prying eyes hiding on that public network.
Maintain Your Privacy, Even in Public
We've talked before about the dangers of connecting via a public Wi-Fi hotspot. As a quick recap, anytime you log on to a public network, everyone else on that network can watch and even capture your online activity. That access isn't limited to your impressive Dr. Who-Sherlock fanfiction mash-up. You wouldn't mind anyone reading that it's amazing! Unfortunately, those spying eyes witness everything you do, and that means every keystroke, including login IDs and passwords. Think of how many times a day you access public Wi-Fi while traveling, even when you're traveling for pleasure instead of business. A VPN offers a safe, encrypted tunnel to the Internet, scrambling your activity to keep it private. ZenMate keeps all your online activity secure, from desktop to mobile and all points in between. No matter how many people in that hotel, café, or airport use that same hotspot, your VPN connection hides your activity from your fellow surfers.
The governments of a number of countries censor numerous websites and certain online services. They even block entire sites. Obviously, controlling the content on these sites is not limited to the country's citizens. Anyone accessing the Internet in these countries experiences this same level of government control. That is unless, of course, you access the Internet through a VPN connection. Your VPN gives you access to censored content, even blocked sites such as Twitter and Facebook, which are indeed blocked in many locations. Some countries also block Skype and other VOIP applications from non-VPN users. Luckily, connecting through your VPN provides instant access, allowing you to make VOIP calls and send messages without annoying restrictions or pricey international rates.
In the same way that "live" international financial transactions present challenges (always let your credit card company know when you're traveling abroad), online transactions have their own issues. This is due to your bank's method of verifying that users are who they say they are. It's for your own protection, but it can create quite the headache. Banks use your IP address as a means of identifying you. It's a standard layer of security in the age of identity theft. At the minimum, you'll need to answer a list of security questions before accessing your funds. Note the word "minimum" in that sentence. Depending on where you're traveling, your bank may lock you out of your account entirely, requiring phone calls to access your funds. It's even harder with a service such as PayPal. Connecting through a VPN negates many of these hassles because your connection allows you to choose the server through which you make your connection. Simply select your home country when prompted. Your banking site assumes that is where you are and you are free of constraints.
Smartphone security is likely the most overlooked vulnerability in 2016. Maybe these present a blind spot to most because they're still just phones, not computers. Whatever the reason, ignoring these vulnerabilities doesn't make them any less of a reality. All smartphones are vulnerable to viruses, malware, and hacking, even iOS and Android. It's only been a few months since the FBI got into a showdown with Apple about creating a backdoor. Even though that story's out of the headlines, it isn't over. There doesn't need to be a backdoor to create vulnerabilities; they're already there. In 2013, there were in iOS alone. On top of that, communication protocols have a laundry list of flaws, probably because they've existed since the 1970s. Installing a VPN service on your smartphone lets you browse securely and even safely connect to a work or home network in the event you need to. You enjoy the same VPN protection as when you use a tablet or laptop.
Stay Secure with ZenMate
Whether you're traveling overseas or enjoying a staycation, connecting through a ZenMate VPN ensures your Web surfing sessions remain private. Not only does your encrypted connection protect you from website trackers, it thwarts evildoers attempting to hack into your device or infect it with malware. Use it with your desktop, laptop, or tablet, as well as iOS and Android, for secure, private access to any site in any country. Stream videos, call the dog sitter on Skype, and complete banking transactions no matter where you are spending your downtime.