Protect yourself when you are deployed
Being deployed is not nearly as bad as it used to be in many areas of the world. Technology has allowed us to have high-speed internet readily available wherever we go. Most soldiers I deploy with always have their laptops right by their side looking for a wifi connection. We need to be cautious when connecting to public wifi as well as personally paid wifi in foreign countries. We need to protect our personal private information. There are a few things that you must do prior to your travels.
Set up a VPN
A VPN stands for a virtual private network. What this does is create an encrypted tunnel for all of your data to flow through from your computer to some third party server in a completely different location. Then connects from that server to the website you are trying to access. This allows for encrypted data that appears to be coming from a completely different location. No one can read the information being passed from your computer or be able to locate where you are. This is a must and should be used every time you connect to the internet.
Choosing a VPN
Avoid free VPNs. They are sketchy and often have been found to monitor your data and sell it. Choose a reputable preferably open-source VPN provider. Some recommendations are:
Be sure to buy these services prior to your travels as many public or military base wifi services block access to these websites and prevent you from setting them up. However, if you see them up ahead of time then you can connect privately and the wifi services cannot block them because they cannot tell what sites you are visiting. All web sites become available.
Even with a VPN, there are so many other ways your private information can get stolen. Usually through large data breaches of major companies. This is when hackers gain access to a companies database that contains usernames, emails, passwords, and other private information. Then they sell this information online to other criminals. This can lead to identity theft and stolen accounts. The best way to protect yourself is to use different unique hard to guess passwords for every single login. If a hacker gains access to a username and password that you use for every account then he just gained access to every account. Even if you get notified right away, that will take forever to change the password of all your accounts. But if you use different passwords for every account then you only have to change the one that was hacked. I know having different passwords for every account is a lot to manage and remember and that's why we use password managers. These are applications that store all your passwords for you. Most of them will eve. Generate random unique passwords and auto-fill your login information with on button. You shouldn't know what any of your own passwords are. Only the master password for your manager.
Recommended password managers:
Another service I recommend is privacy.com. this is a software that generates unique debit card numbers for every service such as Google, eBay, Amazon, etc. You can create several cards all linked to the same bank account and even set limits on them. If your number gets stolen, the number can only be used at the specific store up to the specific limit you set. You can also easily deactivate that card right from the app and make a new one instantly. The only downside is you must link a debit card and not a credit card. This is a great service that I use all the time. You can sign up here at privacy.com.
Remember to set all these up before you travel and make sure they work. You should use these all the time whether traveling overseas or at home. Stay safe and keep your data safe.