When I have a question that relates to important internet and VPN facts to know about a particular county I contact Timothy Robinson at INVPN for the answer.
Timothy has been kind enough to write this article to give you the basics about the internet and VPN facts to know if you are traveling overseas. You will find that in some countries these are important to know.
When traveling abroad, you are likely to experience changes in how you are able to interact with the internet and various internet-based platforms, such as email accounts, streaming services, and social media.
It is crucial when traveling to be aware of how your internet access may be affected, and what methods can be used to negate these effects. It is also equally important to be aware of how to maintain good cyber safety when accessing the internet during travels.
In this post, we will explore the 10 different internet facts to keep in your considerations while traveling, as well as best practices for protecting your data and information.
#1: Important Internet and VPN Facts to Know – Email and Social Media Will Require Double-Confirmation
When accessing your email and social media accounts from a new location, you are likely to be asked for a double confirmation when logging in. For some accounts, this will require two-factor authentication to be activated beforehand, while other accounts will automatically require this feature to be set up.
By having two-factor authentication activated on your accounts, you effectively establish a second layer of protection from unauthorized access to your email and social media.
A 2019 Microsoft report states that 99 percent of account compromise cyber attacks can be intercepted simply through the use of multi-factor authentication.
Additionally, it is also highly important to establish strong passwords on each of your accounts and ideally have those passwords differ for each account.
#2: Important Internet and VPN Facts to Know – Online Banking Access May be Restricted
When transactions appear in your account banking account history from locations outside of your residential address, your bank is likely to restrict access and block payments from your debit card.
This is because online banking activity, especially transactions that occur out-of-country, are often automatically marked as suspicious activity.
It is essential when making travel arrangements to include in your planning to alert your bank that you will be traveling between certain dates and to include the locations in which you will be accessing your banking information from.
It is also key to be aware that your internet access may be limited while traveling, but that public Wi-Fi is generally not a safe option for accessing online accounts without additional protection, such as a VPN.
#3: Important Internet and VPN Facts to Know – Public Wi-Fi Hotspots are Not Secure
When traveling in-country, you may not have to completely rely on Wi-Fi depending on your cellular provider’s national coverage. However, when traveling abroad, that reliance on Wi-Fi is going to drastically increase in most cases (see fact #9 about mobile data access).
However, using public Wi-Fi will lead to a non-secure internet connection that can result in your accounts and information becoming compromised. This is largely due to a lack of encryption of your information being sent from your phone to the internet router.
The best way to combat this lack of encryption and protect your information is to use a VPN, such as the popular services NordVPN and ExpressVPN. VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are generally software programs that allow users to create a private network while using public internet servers.
Besides information encryption and protection, VPNs can also be used for a variety of other purposes that will be discussed later in this post, such as accessing streaming services and search engines based within your home country.
#4: Important Internet and VPN Facts to Know – Your Google Experience Will Change
When using the popular search engine Google, the results you receive will vary pretty drastically depending on your location.
This is because Google uses an algorithm and localized search results that analyze a number of factors, especially current location when searching the internet for results that best match your query.
As such, when you are traveling abroad, your experience using Google is likely to change fairly significantly. Results will be more likely to consist of websites based in the current country you are in, rather than websites based in your home country.
#5: Important Internet and VPN Facts to Know – Different Content Will Appear on YouTube
Like Google, the popular content-sharing platform YouTube is going to provide different search results and different content depending on where you are location-wise.
YouTube content restrictions and censorship can also highly vary depending on where in the world you currently are. Thus, some content that would be available in the United States may not be available in the country you are visiting.
Additionally, if you are visiting a country where the first and primary language used is something other than English, you are likely to find that the majority of YouTube search results will be in the native language of the country you are in.
Of course, if you are using a VPN, you may not experience this side effect of traveling as much since your internet connection will stay connected to U.S. based servers.
Here are some important facts every traveler should know in addition to internet security.
#6: Important Internet and VPN Facts to Know – Access to Streaming Services May be Restricted
Streaming services will be affected in many of the same ways that Google and YouTube are. Each individual country will have a different set of restrictions in regards to streaming services.
Additionally, streaming services, such as Netflix, will also offer different content depending on what country the service is being accessed from. Being able to get a view from the home is an important internet and VPN facts issue to think about.
VPNs are the best way to access your normal streaming services with the regular content you would see if you were in your home country. Surfshark VPN is one of the more popular VPNs that has dedicated streaming servers to use in order to access streaming content.
This can also be used while not traveling to view content that is not available on U.S.-based streaming services. For example, Canada’s version of Netflix offers almost entirely different content than U.S.-based Netflix. By using a VPN, you can change your location to view the content available in various other countries.
#7: Important Internet and VPN Facts to Know – Corporate VPN Usage May be Restricted
Corporate VPNs are used by businesses to allow authorized employees to access important company information, data, and files.
As such, many corporate VPNs will have restrictions in place to block usage from international IP addresses to protect against information breaches. Talk to your IT engineers about these important internet and VPN facts
This can become a difficult technicality for those who are traveling but still need access to their corporate VPN in order to do work assignments or access company-related information.
If this is the case while you are traveling, you will likely need to try using different ports and protocols in order to bypass firewall restrictions that are blocking you from access.
This will likely require you to contact the IT team or related officials within the company to learn what ports should be used while traveling for secure access to a corporate VPN. These are very important internet and VPN facts everyone has to consider.
#8: Important Internet and VPN Facts to Know – YouTube, WhatsApp, and Other Social Media are Blocked in China
China is one country in particular where travelers are likely to run into complications accessing social media and streaming platforms, as most of these are banned in the country.
For tourists and travelers coming from outside of the country, the legality of VPNs is considered a gray area, though generally those with pre-installed VPNs used to check social media and email accounts will not run into trouble, according to the New York Times.
As such, it is highly important for those planning to travel to China to ensure they have a secure VPN before entering the country, as once they have arrived, they will be blocked from installing any new VPN services.
#9: Important Internet and VPN Facts to Know – Data Access on Mobile Phones May be Restricted
Data and texting services offered by the cellular providers will vary per provider. This will be referred to as international coverage or international roaming service by most companies and will vary in how expensive it is to use data and texting services abroad.
Generally, these types of services and plans can get pretty pricey depending on your provider, which is why it is usually recommended to use VPNs to access Wi-Fi while traveling instead, as this is the cheaper option overall.
#10: Important Internet and VPN Facts to Know – Public USB Ports Post Threats to Your Devices
Many public places, such as hotels or airports, offer USB ports that can be used to charge mobile devices while out in public. However, it is generally recommended not to use these ports as they provide several risks and threats for your information and data stored on your devices.
Forbes Magazine reports that because USB cords have wires for both charging and data transfer, plugging your devices into a public port puts your device at a much greater risk of becoming contaminated.
You open yourself to both malware or falling victim to cyber-attacks – also known as “juice jacking” – wherein malware and data copying can be performed.
It is crucially important while traveling to be aware of your access to the internet will be compromised through various restrictions and using public Wi-Fi can pose potential threats to your cybersecurity.
Always read up on restrictions in place in the destination you are traveling to, and make a proactive plan for how you will secure internet access while also maintaining the safety of your information.
Please use all of these important internet and VPN facts whether you are at home or abroad. They can save you years of grief if your identity is compromised.