Whether your travels take you across the globe or across state lines, cybercrime is now part of the reality of planning a safe trip. You may be diligent about cybercrime in your everyday activities, but it’s easy to let your guard down when you travel. Here are five cybersecurity tips to check out before you check in for your summer vacation.
Use social media with care
As much as we all enjoy using social media to share photos and experiences with family and friends, it’s important to be careful with the information you share online, especially while traveling. Posting travel dates, destinations, itineraries and pictures of your location should be posted after you return from your trip. The social updates you post while traveling make it obvious that you’re not at home and when cybercriminals know you’re away, it opens the door for them to commit a crime against you –online or at your home.
Be cautious of public Wi-Fi and charging stations
Although convenient, public wireless networks are anything but secure, and can expose users to significant risks of having their data stolen. Using public Wi-Fi provides an opening for cybercriminals to access your personal information, especially if it’s stored on a mobile device.
If you must use public Wi-Fi while traveling, avoid any activities that may give cybercriminals easy access to your data, like logging into password-protected sites or engaging in financial transactions, including checking your bank account or shopping online. Also, be sure to look for HTTPS:// in your browser window to ensure a connection is secure or use a virtual private network, or VPN. You can default to your mobile data for a more secure connection, use your mobile device directly as a hotspot for your PC, or travel with a standalone mobile hotspot.
Public charging stations like the ones available at airports can be a gateway to getting hacked. Unfortunately, there is no way to know if these public ports are compromised but you can take preventive actions to protect yourself from this type of cybercrime. The most effective precautions are to not utilize third-party systems, ensure you have a fully-charged phone, charge devices on your own USB power adapter and plug it into a wall outlet, and lastly, purchase a portable power bank.
Keep software up to date
Software and operating systems often have updates that are important to install as soon as they come out. Updates help protect your devices from viruses and malware by providing additional features and security. Also, remember to back up all of the valuable data and personal information that’s stored on your devices. If you lose any of these devices while traveling, you’ll at least avoid losing your data!
Protect your device with a password
Lock your device with a password…it’s the best way to keep your data secure! If you don’t lock your phone or computer with a password and it’s lost or stolen, whoever has it will be able to access all your personal information and data, including your bank accounts if your login is stored on the device. Apple’s Touch or Face ID is a secure substitute for a password.
Turn off Bluetooth access
If your Bluetooth is turned on, any Bluetooth network can connect to your device without confirmation. Once someone is connected to your device, they can steal or retrieve any of the data or personal information you have stored on your mobile device. Check your Bluetooth connectivity settings before you take off and disable Bluetooth altogether to avoid any unwanted connections. Additionally, use caution when connecting your phone to a rental car. If you do so, make sure you delete your device from the paired phone list and use the factory reset option to completely clear your data from the rental car system.
Incorporate these cybersecurity travel trips into your getaway this summer to add an extra layer of digital defense against hackers…and give you peace of mind to enjoy your trip. You can find more information about cybersecurity and identity theft in our Simply Speaking blog.