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How to Be Safe Online When Visiting China
Apart from censorship, there are some security issues you should be wary of when using the internet as a visitor in China. These security issues include malware, electronic snooping, and data theft. Victims often report incidents of their devices being hacked by cybercriminals and data theft from their online accounts. These cyberattacks usually target smartphones, laptops, and other devices containing personal data.
Some government-sponsored surveillance systems may pose a threat to your online privacy and security. For these reasons, it is essential to take strong internet security measures to stay safe when visiting China. In this article, we’ll consider ways to ensure internet security and privacy when visiting China.
7 Ways to Stay Safe Online When Visiting China
Here are a few practices to begin if you’re making a trip to China. They’re simple and mainly straightforward.
1. Download and Install All Updates
You can keep your device safe when visiting China to download and install the necessary software updates for your devices. There may be security holes or bugs present in operating systems and device applications, leaving your device vulnerable to surveillance and hackers.
Software publishers periodically discover these weaknesses in operating systems and applications. To correct this, they release updates and patches. Security updates help fix these errors by removing bugs and updating the security software to keep the device safe.
Also, ensure you check that your browser apps and other important apps have the latest security patches. You can enable automatic updates or manually search and install the relevant security updates. Ensure you only use the update service or software that comes with your device. Some online update options may be bugs in disguise.
2. Backup and Remove Unnecessary Files
Before you get into the country, ensure you have copied all your important files if a security breach happens. Your devices should only contain a small amount of data you may need while in the country. Copy all other important data to another device back home. This offers extra security in case a hacker successfully gains access to your device. If this happens, you will not suffer much damage once you have moved your important files to another location.
3. Use a VPN/ Antivirus Software
This is one of the most important steps to take when visiting China. A VPN offers many benefits and is a necessity when visiting the country. The government regularly monitors internet traffic, and there is a strict surveillance mechanism used to block unapproved content, including some social media websites and political discussions.
To bypass this and ensure you keep your privacy intact, the best option is to use a VPN. Many VPNs are banned in China and may not be able to bypass the Great Firewall. However, some strong VPN services will offer you the privacy and security you need while also bypassing censorship and internet restrictions.
A VPN will also protect your device from hackers and snoopers looking to harvest your data or internet traffic. Anti-virus software also offers protection against malware, spyware, and viruses. Reliable and reputable anti-virus software will protect your device from dangerous programs that can infect your device over the internet.
4. Improve Your Device Security
Before you get into the country, ensure you improve your device security. Enable two-factor authentication and set up strong passwords on your online accounts. Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of protection for your accounts. Using generic passwords such as birthdays or other dates can make it easy for cybercriminals to gain access to your accounts successfully.
Also, ensure you do not use the same passwords for all your devices and accounts. If one of your accounts gets compromised, it becomes easy for the hacker to access other accounts. This is why it is better to use different passwords for each of your online accounts. You can use a password manager to generate and store strong passwords for your accounts.
If you need to download apps or files, ensure you only download from official app stores. A lot of apps from unknown sources usually come with security bugs and backdoors, which can be used to access your device and data.
5. Avoid Public Wi-Fi if Possible
You might be tempted to use public networks when visiting a country like China. However, unsecured public networks are usually an opportunity for hackers and snoopers to gain access to internet traffic and private information. Your device becomes visible on public networks and is susceptible to attacks unless you have a strong firewall.
If you must use a public network, ensure you use a strong VPN. When using a public network, ensure you do not perform sensitive transactions such as e-payments while on the network.
6. Avoid Suspicious Websites, Messages, and Links.
A common method cybercriminals in China use to get their victims are links, fake emails, and websites. These links and websites are infested with malware; once you click on them, you may be at risk of losing your data. Also, criminals often deceive people by sending juicy offers and attractive deals to their inbox. To protect your money, ensure you do not click the links or follow the steps. Do not download files or open links from unknown or suspicious sources.
7. Turn Off Geo-tracking
Many apps try to monitor you, keeping tabs on your current location. Thus, it is advisable to check your privacy settings and switch off the location permission for these apps. Ensure you turn off your location while using the internet, as this will make it harder for snoopers to monitor your location.
When traveling to China, you should keep in mind that you might experience some security risks when using the internet. The Chinese Government, cybercriminals, major organizations will try to monitor your cyber-activity to gain access to your personal information. This is why you should take these security precautions to protect your device and privacy. Following the tips we have mentioned in this article will save you from various internet threats such as hacking, spyware, malware, among many others.