Life can be pretty sweet as a digital nomad, and there is no wonder why there is a growing trend towards it.
All you need to earn a living as a digital nomad is basically your trusty laptop, a Wifi connection, and possibly a smartphone and you are free to roam around the world living the wanderlust digital nomad lifestyle so many people are longing for.
The list of example jobs available for digital nomads can come in forms of:
While the range of jobs digital nomads can take up are based on varying skillsets of a person, there is one common factor among all of them: a good Internet connection is vital.
The Internet can be a vast universe used for good and evil. Although digital nomads are lucky to escape the confines of a traditional workplace cubicle, in many ways digital nomads actually face higher risks when it comes to digital security.
This is because digital nomads may not have access to basic digital protections which is otherwise available to a corporate office worker. Office workers would typically be protected in ways of a company’s virtual private network, secure Wifi connection, corporate firewalls and antivirus software.
So if you are a digital nomad making a living abroad while sipping coconuts on a beach, here are BolehVPN’s 5 tips for basic online security no matter where you are working in the world.
If you are a digital nomad working from the comforts of home, the threat of Wifi hacks may not be as immediately imminent.
However if you are a digital nomad working from your favourite coffee shop or beach bar, this risk just got a whole lot worse for you.
Quite often, the danger of connecting to a public Wifi is likened to having unprotected sex; if you are not taking the necessary precautions, you are taking a major risk of landing yourself in a larger, stickier situation.
Eavesdropping software, rogue Wifi hotspots; it is only too easy for the public Wifi you are using to be compromised. So easy in fact that a 7-year old kid could break into a public network in under 11 minutes just from watching an online tutorial.
You should always ask a hotel or café establishment for the right Wifi credentials before connecting. Once connected, configure your device so that it does not automatically connect to open Wifi hotspots.
Additionally, if you really do not trust a public Wifi, there is also the option of subscribing to a mobile plan with larger data allowance so that you may use your mobile on-the-go as a tethering hotspot rather than rely on public Wifi.
(Read also: Why You Should Use a VPN on Public WiFi)
Those little pop-up prompts on the corner of your screen reminding you to install and update your security software may seem pesky, but they are good for you!
We have all been guilty of clicking ‘X’ and dismissing those little notification windows once or twice. Yet, we should not be ignoring those security patches for too long, as clearly exemplified by both the WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks which targeted outdated computer systems.
And if you are a digital nomad working from a public computer such as one in an Internet café, well you can best bet that those dusty old desktops will have way outdated security and antivirus updates if they even had any.
“Better safe than sorry”.
Another simple neglected tip that is important for digital nomads is to constantly backup your files.
There is no point of putting all your efforts into your hard work when you are not protecting it. While it seems like a tedious task transferring all your MBs and GBs into a safe space, by not keeping copies of your work you are keeping all your eggs in one basket.
And by now you should know that there are a whole lot of things that could go wrong with that one basket.
If you do not own a portable hard drive, there are other means online to store your digital backups, even for free.
Flickr can be a good place if you are a photographer looking to keep digital backups of your photos for free, whereas Dropbox and Google Drive also offer free options for your online backups and iCloud and Time Machine are options available for Mac users.
It goes without saying that you should password protect everything you own. Even if you work as a digital nomad or not, this is a basic security step that even a kid could carry out.
Most websites will suggest a password to have at least 6-8 characters and be a combination of upper and lower case letters with symbols.
So now would be the best time to remind you; stop recycling passwords! That “iloveneopets1234” password you were using from primary school ‘til now? Chuck it out. At the very least, we hope that you are not using any passwords from these list of worst passwords and disabling auto-login to your accounts. If remembering a whole bunch of complicated passwords is not your forte, try a free service like Lastpass, a password manager and generator to simplify your digital passwords.
On top of that, two-factor authentication (2FA) can work as an extra layer of security for password verification so that it will take a hacker more than just your password to access your account. 2FA is offered by various sites, for instance PayPal. So if you are a digital nomad depending a lot on PayPal for online payments and transfers while you are abroad, 2FA can be a nifty security tip to add to you book.
Bonus for iPhone users: Did you know by simply setting a passcode on your device you can enable data encryption on your iPhone?
Finally, a Virtual Private Network can be a digital nomad’s best friend when it comes to staying safe on the Internet.
As a digital nomad, your work (and lifestyle) probably chiefly depends on connecting to Internet which is not your own (See Point #1).
Because you are working remotely from possibly all parts of the world, it is so important to safeguard your precious information from hackers.
Most basic workplaces already have a corporate VPN in place for the digital security of employees. Unfortunately as a digital nomad, you may not have access to these standard benefits that an average white-collar employee gets access to in an office.
However, the great news is that there are personal VPNs such as our BolehVPN which can serve you the same benefit in encrypting your data and shielding your online identity. And as a digital nomad in a country where certain websites are restricted, a VPN allows you to change your IP address so that you can unblock them.
At the heart of a digital nomad, your whole life depends on the Internet. So why not be sure you protect it?