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A Guide To Using Your Cell Phone Abroad and Keeping It Safe From Cyber Threats

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Smartphones Security

Think about it; who’s the only travel companion you’ve taken on every trip with you? Yep – your smartphone.  And as convenient as it is to use phones abroad, you need to be mindful of ever-present cybersecurity threats that risk compromising your personal information. 

Taking your cell phone abroad can be very convenient for staying connected while you travel. However, it does come with risks of costly roaming charges, device theft or loss, and cyber threats from using unfamiliar networks. This guide aims to provide valuable insights into using your cell phone safely while travelling and protecting it from cyber threats.

Enable Security Features

Before taking off for your trip abroad, make sure your phone's basic security features are enabled. Setting up a strong PIN or password and enabling biometric authentication methods like fingerprint or facial recognition add an extra barrier against unauthorized access.

Update Software and Apps

Always your phone's operating system and apps up to date. Why? One of the primary reasons for these updates is that they contain security patches to address known vulnerabilities. Before travelling, check for any available updates and install them to fortify your device against potential cyber threats.

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

When accessing public Wi-Fi networks abroad, use a VPN to encrypt your internet connection. Public Wi-Fi networks are often targeted by hackers, especially in public areas, and using a VPN adds an extra layer of protection.

Monitor Roaming Charges

Before using your phone abroad, look into local eSIM apps to avoid exorbitant data fees. Be cautious about using public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions, as unsecured networks can make you vulnerable to cyber-attacks. If you are travelling for longer than a month, the good news is that you can still keep your US number abroad.

Be Wary of Public Charging Stations

Public charging stations seem convenient, but heads up - they can actually pose a cybersecurity risk. Cybercriminals can manipulate charging ports to install malware on connected devices. To mitigate this risk, invest in a portable power bank for on-the-go charging.

Turn Off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi When Not in Use

To prevent unauthorized access and potential cyber threats, always disable your device’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you’re not using them. Leaving these on exposes your device to criminals, who can access your device networks and data through these channels.

Backup Your Data

Before departing for your international destination, back up your phone's data to a secure cloud service. This ensures that even if your phone is lost, stolen, or compromised, you can easily and quickly get back on track.

Be Cautious of Texts and Emails

Phishing attempts often target travellers through calls and texts from unknown numbers, attempting to trick them into providing personal information. Avoid suspicious links, and verify the authenticity of messages before responding.

Install Security Apps

Antivirus and anti-malware apps can provide an additional layer of protection, scanning for potential threats and keeping your device secure.

Report Lost or Stolen Phones Immediately

If your phone is lost or stolen, report it to your mobile carrier and local authorities as quickly as possible. They can take steps to block your phone and prevent unauthorized access, minimizing the potential impact of the loss.

By taking the proper precautions, you ensure your smartphone is an excellent travel companion and not a travel liability. By implementing these security measures, you can protect your device from cyber threats and enjoy a worry-free international travel experience. Stay vigilant, stay secure, and make the most of your connected journey.

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