Updated on November 8, 2023.
You can keep your data secure as a digital nomad by using strong passwords, enabling MFA and using a password manager. With the rise of digital nomads, you must know how to keep yourself safe from cyber attacks when traveling from city to city or country to country working.
Continue reading to learn more about what a digital nomad is, the risks of being a digital nomad and ways to secure your data.
What Is a Digital Nomad?
A digital nomad is someone who makes a living online while working in various locations. Similar to remote workers, digital nomads are not fixed to a single office location and can work from anywhere as long as they have online access.
Digital nomads are a type of remote worker. While many remote workers set up their offices within their homes, digital nomads don’t have a fixed residence or working space. Instead, they travel and work from place to place, living a nomadic lifestyle. Digital nomads often have to use public spaces such as coffee shops or public libraries to conduct their work. They rely on devices with wireless internet that connect to either public WiFi or mobile hotspots to do their work wherever they want.
The Risks of Being a Digital Nomad
Although living as a digital nomad may seem great, it comes with many security risks that can put you and your company in jeopardy. With your work environment constantly changing, you are often expected to properly equip and protect yourself for online work. Here are some of the risks that come with being a digital nomad.
The biggest risk digital nomads face is the use of weak passwords to protect their accounts and devices. Passwords are the first line of defense against cybercriminals. However, weak passwords can be easily cracked by cybercriminals. Cybercriminals can execute brute force attacks to guess a digital nomad’s passwords through trial and error. If a digital nomad uses a weak password, cybercriminals can compromise their accounts and steal confidential information, putting the company at risk.
Signs of a weak password include:
- Personal information
- Sequential numbers or letters (such as 12345)
- Common dictionary words
- Fewer than 16 characters
Another sign of a weak password is if it is reused across multiple accounts.
Since digital nomads conduct all of their work online, they are often exposed to phishing attacks. Phishing attacks are a type of cyber attack in which a cybercriminal sends a message to a user to trick them into revealing sensitive information. Phishing attacks are often sent through emails or text messages with a request to either download a malicious attachment or click on a fake link. The goal is to install malware on the user’s device or direct them to a fake website to reveal their sensitive information.
Cybercriminals can use business email compromise to trick digital nomads into revealing sensitive information about themselves or the company. A business email compromise is a type of phishing attack that impersonates someone within a company to steal sensitive information. If not properly trained, digital nomads can easily fall for these types of scams and jeopardize their company.
Companies usually provide their teams with the necessary equipment to do their jobs. However, many digital nomads tend to be independent contractors, meaning they must provide and secure their own equipment to access company files and applications. Corporate computers usually contain additional security features and software that the average person may not install on their own devices.
Often, digital nomads use personal devices that might not be encrypted and protected by security software. They may also use these devices for non-work-related tasks. This puts digital nomads at a higher risk of a security breach that may compromise their devices containing sensitive company files.
Digital nomads often opt for coworking spaces and public workstations that provide publicly available WiFi networks. Although convenient, public WiFi can put digital nomads at risk of cyber attacks such as Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks. MITM attacks are a type of cyber attack in which a cybercriminal intercepts data between two exchanging parties. Public WiFi is unencrypted and allows cybercriminals to easily eavesdrop and steal any data transmitted through it. Cybercriminals can also trick users into connecting to their fake WiFi networks, giving the cybercriminal total control over their data.
Unencrypted file sharing
On-premises software gives organizations control and security when sharing sensitive information in-house. Without the proper resources, digital nomads tend to use alternative means of file sharing that are unencrypted such as through email or other messaging apps. These methods of communication can easily be hacked and expose information to cybercriminals.
Cybersecurity Tips for Digital Nomads
Although being a digital nomad comes with many security risks, there are ways to protect yourself and secure your data from cybercriminals. Use these cybersecurity tips below to keep yourself safe as a digital nomad.
Use strong and unique passwords
Weak or recycled passwords are one of the most common data breach causes. Digital nomads should be using strong and unique passwords to protect their online accounts. Strong passwords are difficult for cybercriminals to crack, and they help protect your sensitive information. A strong password contains at least 16 characters and a random combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. You should be using a different password for each of your accounts to avoid multiple accounts from being compromised by one exposed password.
It can be difficult though to keep track of all your unique and complex passwords. You should use a password manager to store all of your login credentials. A password manager is a tool that securely stores and manages your personal information in an encrypted vault. You can identify weak passwords and change them using a built-in password generator. Password managers can also make logging in easier by autofilling your login credentials whenever you try to log in. They make it almost impossible for cybercriminals to crack or steal your login credentials.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a process where a user must present an additional form of verification to access an online account or application. Along with your login credentials, enabling MFA requires you to prove your identity using extra authentication such as a one-time code. It strengthens the security of your accounts and provides an effective way to prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to your accounts, even if they have your password.
Use a VPN
Whether you are a self-employed freelancer or work for an employer, Virtual Private Networks (VPN) allow digital nomads to have a secure connection to their workplace desktops, giving them access to company applications and files wherever they are. A VPN is a service that protects your internet connection by encrypting your data and masking your IP address.
Below are some of the benefits of a VPN:
Allows privacy — A VPN disguises your device’s whereabouts to appear as if it is coming from a different location.
Protects user and customer information — VPNs protect sensitive data by hiding it behind dummy information.
Enables cost-effective security — Although prices can vary, VPNs are comparatively a cheap alternative to many other security solutions.
Avoid public WiFi
Digital nomads require internet access to make a living, meaning WiFi is essential. However, you should avoid using public WiFi. Public WiFi is unsecured and allows cybercriminals to easily steal your personal information. Cybercriminals can also fabricate networks to trick you into using them and revealing your personal information. While traveling as a digital nomad, you should consider alternatives such as using private WiFi, using a mobile hotspot or purchasing a portable WiFi hotspot. A portable WiFi hotspot will also ensure you have internet access anywhere, anytime.
Invest in Cybersecurity Solutions
Purchase products and services that amp up your cybersecurity. Consider the following:
Antivirus software — This is a program that can detect malicious code and prevent malware from infecting your device.
Device tracker — Technology is expensive. Purchase tracking software or tags to monitor your devices at all times. This approach may help keep your mind at ease if your equipment is stolen or missing.
Privacy filter — A monitor filter can prevent wandering eyes from viewing your confidential information.
Back up your data regularly
A digital nomad’s livelihood is dependent on their ability to work online. You must back up your non-sensitive work on a cloud storage provider such as Dropbox, OneDrive or use Keeper’s Secure File Storage for sensitive documents. In addition, you should also purchase an external hard drive as another form of backup. You can always access your files via cloud storage or the external hard drive if your laptop goes missing or breaks down.
Stay educated on cybersecurity
Since digital nomads work remotely, you need to stay educated on cybersecurity news and trends to protect yourself from cyber attacks and exercise cybersecurity best practices. Cybercriminals are developing new ways to attack users, so it is important to stay educated about emerging cyber attacks. You should be able to recognize cyber attacks to avoid falling for them.
How Keeper Secures Your Data
You can secure your data as a digital nomad by using a password manager. A password manager will securely store and protect your personal information from cybercriminals. It will ensure you are using strong passwords. Keeper Password Manager is a great tool that can protect your remote work during your travels. It uses zero-trust and zero-knowledge encryption, which ensures that only you have access to your data. Keeper Password Manager allows you to securely store, manage and share your personal information without the fear of falling victim to cybercriminals.
Sign up for a free trial of Keeper Password Manager to protect your data while you are traveling.