What to pack in your digital suitcase when traveling to SwitzerlandThe Swiss government has one of the most open internet policies in the world. With no firewalls barring access to specific sites or content, censorship is practically non-existent. The country’s liberal ways is quite the contrary to China or Vietnam, who are known to be enemies of a free internet.
Beyond that, they are not a part of the EU which means they are not held by any common laws to disclose user data or collect information on behalf of other countries in the union.
However, liberty does not equate security and privacy. While the government might not be tracking you, unlike in the States or the UK, don’t let the laissez-faire climate within the Swiss borders be a reason to not take cybersecurity seriously. Here are some internet issues you might run into in Switzerland that is hugely inconvenient, to say the least.
Public Wi-Fi is now so common that people, travelers especially, expect to walk into a cafe or restaurant chain and be treated to free Wi-Fi before even ordering anything.
Public WIFI security threats
That is one of the poorest ethics to ever imbibe in this time and age, where cybersecurity breaches happen every day – and in the thousands too. Unsecured public networks are unencrypted, meaning when on the network, your internet traffic is sent in plain text for hackers to see.
What you are sending through such networks are ‘naked’ and easily interceptable, making you vulnerable to data sniffing and snooping. Personal data and sensitive information can easily be stolen in man-in-the-middle attacks, which is a simple interception technique anyone in your proximity can perform using a simple 20 dollar gear.
But who is really to blame when we are the one consenting to such invasive behaviors? If you pay close attention to the lengthy terms and conditions before connecting to a public Wi-Fi, you’ll see that more often than not, it will mention that the network is unsecured, and user data is subject to collection, tracking or even sharing.
If only we’ve bothered to read it before hopping on the network, we can make an informed decision of whether or not we want to connect. But fear not, you don’t have to give up free connectivity to stay safe, there is an easy and guaranteed way around it which we will get into later on.
If the Swiss government is not behind data collection, who is? Let’s not forget corporates lean heavily on big data intelligence drawn from individual user data points, so there are many reasons why whoever has access to your internet traffic to benefit from it, such as your internet service provider (ISP) or telecommunication company.
Again, the Swiss government is not known to restrict the access of its citizens from content on the internet. There was the case where the government asked that ISPs in the country block access to about three websites in the US, but that was a one-time thing.
But then, how about the creators/ vendors of such content?
This is the case with big brands such as YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix who will categorize their content by the market. This makes it impossible for those out of the target region to get the same piece of content. So, when you’re traveling to Switzerland from your home country, you might lose access to a lot of your favorite shows online due to a change in your IP address.
To get around this, you will need a proxy or VPN to spoof your location.
The solution? Use a VPN
The good news is that there is a way around all of these, and you don’t even need to give an arm and a leg to get there. By simply picking up a suitable VPN, you would be able to solve all the cybersecurity and geo-blocking issues that might be in your way.
VPNs route user data through secure channels in a technique known as tunneling. When that happens, the data you send on the internet passes through these secure tunnels, making them invisible to anyone from outside the network.
This effectively puts an end to data sniffing, snooping, man-in-the-middle attack, data collections, and such other problems.
Then again, the fact that these VPNs have different servers in different countries will allow you to change your IP address at will. That means you can be in Switzerland and access the internet as you were in the US, Canada, Netherlands… anywhere at all!
To choose the best VPN for Switzerland, ensure you check your options for:
- Speed: You want a VPN that has been optimized for speed, not one that drops it
- Unlimited bandwidth: Else, you might be limited in the volume of data transfer (and speed too) over the network
- Multiple server locations: And in different countries too. otherwise, you won’t be able to get around those geoblocks like you want to
- Zero data logging: You’re trying to escape one mode of data collection. Ensure you don’t get yourself into yet another.