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Traveling to Japan? 7 Things You Need to Know About Online Security
Globalization has significantly altered our lives. People are more mobile than ever before; hence, many individuals travel to countries like Japan for various reasons.
Some people go to Japan to conduct business, form commercial connections, or even relocate. While this is a good thing, it comes with a few drawbacks. When moving away from home, one of the concerns is online security. Although it may not seem so, many things change when you travel. All these changes impact your online safety.
Generally, visiting Japan is safe. Although crime is uncommon, petty theft may occur in congested tourist areas. Cyber security has also become a significant worry in the country.
When traveling to Japan, it’s critical to be aware of and comprehend internet security precautions. This article informs you about things you need to know about online security when you are in Japan.
Cyber Security in Japan
In January 2021, Japan had over 117 million active internet users. This moved its ranking to the fourth position in the Asia Pacific area. With the high rate of digitalization in the economy, security issues have become a critical domestic problem in Japan.
Some of the reasons for cyberattacks include Japan’s economic dependence on the internet, electronic devices, the nation’s geopolitical location, and hostile ties with its neighbors.
E-crime is disruptive to society. Nonetheless, government authorities are wary of causing a stir by forcing corporations to reveal assaults. Also, devoted workers believe it is their duty to keep things secret. Hence, e-crime thrives in Japan.
Things about Online Security to Note When Visiting Japan
The yearly number of cybercrimes has been continuously rising. According to police crime data, the number of cybercrimes in 2016 was anticipated to be above 8,000. Current online crimes in Japan include a broad range of offenses. Since 2019, online banking scams have increased significantly. The total amount of money lost owing to online bank fraud is over 2.5 billion Japanese yen.
Companies are not left out in these attacks. For example, in February 2022, Toyota Motor paused operations in all Japanese factories. This was after a cyberattack on a key supplier disrupted the automaker’s parts supply management system.
With all of the recent data leaks and attacks, protecting our personal and sensitive information is more complex than ever. The consequences might be disastrous when a malevolent actor gets sensitive data such as passwords, bank information, or social security numbers.
If you intend to travel to Japan, you should familiarize yourself with important information about online security in the country. Some things to take note of include:
1. Destroy your travel documents when you arrive in Japan
Thieves and hackers aren’t just interested in your credit cards and other valuables. They’re increasingly focusing on your frequent flyer points and loyalty travel programs. They might then escalate the hack and get access to your bank accounts and other personal information.
To be safe, shred your tickets, boarding passes, and ticket stubs as soon as you land in Japan or if you no longer need them. Malicious third parties might exploit the serial codes on each to obtain access to your accounts. So, if you do not shred them before disposing of them, it could be detrimental.
2. Always use a VPN as soon as you leave
Use a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection to increase the security of your online surfing. A VPN establishes a secure connection between your device and an Internet server. Hence, it ensures that no one can monitor or read the information you exchange. Additionally, you get to catch up on shows and content that are not available to Japanese residents.
3. Disable auto-connect on your devices
Auto-connect functions are available on many portable devices, such as tablets and smartphones. This option allows the devices to connect to any nearby Wi-Fi network. This implies that your smartphone will connect on its own while you move around a city without you even realizing it. While this is a convenient function at home, you should not use it when traveling.
Many public Wi-Fi connections are unsafe. Some were even made explicitly for the purpose of cyber theft. Free wireless (Wi-Fi) hotspots are accessible across Japan. They are available at airports, railway stations, convenience stores, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. However, public Wi-Fi networks, especially those provided by hotels and cafés, are among the most unsafe. Thieves can easily break into the information saved on your phone or laptop via public WiFi.
Despite the increase in ransomware assaults on major corporate chains or institutions in Japan, many hotels do not effectively safeguard their systems (with anti-virus plus proactive security measures). Therefore, it’s best if you avoid using public Wi-Fi.
If your phone is configured to scan and join automatically, you may find yourself on a rogue network. Furthermore, if you’re not using Bluetooth on your phone, make sure it’s turned off. From afar, malicious actors may intercept your Bluetooth signal. Bluetooth generally has a range of 30 feet. However, with the use of specific antennas, it may reach distances of 100 feet or more. Hackers may take advantage of flaws in Bluetooth communications. Turning off Bluetooth may save your device’s battery life.
Auto-connect is a convenient function at home. However, it is not a convenient function while traveling overseas. So never forget to turn it off when traveling to Japan.
4. Ensure that your antivirus software and device software is up to date
Although internet antivirus security software won’t protect you from every attack, it will identify and delete most malware. With the prevailing cyber attacks in Japan, just make sure it’s up to date before you travel. Make sure you’re up to date on your operating system and any programs you’re using. They provide an important layer of protection.
Additionally, mobile phones, tablets, and computers should all have their operating systems updated. Also, update all of your devices’ apps, particularly web browsers. This ensures that their security standard is up to date.
5. Enable Two Factor Authentication
It can also be called “Multi Factor Authentication,” “Two Step Factor Authentication,” “MFA,” or “2FA”. This means agreeing to take an additional step when trustworthy websites and apps ask you to verify that you are who you say you are.
Your bank, social networking platform, school, and job all want to make sure you’re the one who’s accessing your data.
Rather than asking for a password, which can be reused, hacked, or stolen, they can verify your identity by requesting two pieces of information:
They’ll ask for something you know, such as a pin or your sister’s middle name, as well as something you have, such as an authentication app or a confirmation SMS on your phone, or a combination of the two.
You’ll see prompts for multi-factor authentication now that you know what it is. So, go ahead and sign up. Begin with your email account. Then go on to banking services, social networking accounts, online retailers, and gaming and streaming entertainment services.
6. Avoid providing personal information to anyone in Japan
When you are in an unfamiliar environment with folks you’ve never met before, you have to be careful. As a result, if you get an unwanted call, text message, or email requesting personal information, ignore it. When beginning a ransomware attack, cybercriminals may try to collect personal information ahead of time. They could use this personal information to tailor phishing messages to you specifically. If you have any worries about the message’s validity, you should immediately contact the sender.
7. Don’t open any email attachments that you are unsure about
Email attachments might infect your computer with ransomware. You should avoid any attachments that seem dubious at all costs. To confirm that the email is trustworthy, pay close attention to the sender and double-check that the address is correct. Never open attachments that need you to run macros in order to see them. Opening the attachment will trigger a malicious macro if the attachment has a virus. This allows the malware to take control of your computer.
Simple Additional Security Tips
There are additional safeguards you can take in addition to following the apparent internet safety rules while traveling. These simple tips will help you spot warning indicators and also avoid any danger:
- Before going to bed, check your bank account using a secure banking app for any unusual activity.
- Contact your financial institution right if you discover fraudulent charges. It will enable you to keep track of your expenditure and spot fraudulent charges (or excessive spending).
Cybercrime flourishes in the shadows, and regrettably, Japanese society contributes by refusing to acknowledge this new kind of antisocial conduct. As a result, no one but yourself can keep you safe online when you are in Japan. So, to save yourself from being vulnerable to cyber attacks when you travel there, you should take extra precautions.