Dear Lifehacker, I am quite security-conscious when it comes to online accounts and use strong passwords via LastPass and two-factor authentication wherever possible via SMS. However, I will be travelling overseas soon, and getting a new SIM card and number. How can I keep my accounts secure while travelling and not need to receive text messages?
What if my phone is lost or stolen? How will I be able to access my accounts? Am I better to turn off two-factor while travelling?
Thanks Timid Traveller
Phone picture from Shutterstock
Your best bet would be to check with your banking provider regarding their rules and regulations around two factor authentication. It may be that (pending providing your credentials) they’ll make a switch to an overseas number to enable two-factor authentication while travelling. You never know until you ask, but the rules for each financial provider do vary. Bear in mind that in many overseas countries there's an associated cost with receiving SMS messages to factor in there as well if you do a lot of remote banking.
Equally, they may allow you to temporarily suspend two-factor authentication while you’re travelling, although obviously this is a less than optimal approach. It may also — as we’ve noted previously — be possible to switch to another form of verification such as a code generation device if your bank provides them. That has the added benefit that if you're unable to roam or receive messages you should still be able to generate the necessary codes to enable bank access, although like the mobile, if it's lost or stolen you may be unable to access your accounts until you return to Australian soil.
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