Stay Cyber Safe While Traveling

 

With summer on the horizon, you may be planning your season travel, whether it's for business or pleasure. Many travelers take safety precautions by putting padlocks on their suitcases, wearing money belts, and storing credit cards in RFID-blocking wallets. However, you should also include device cybersecurity in your travel preparations. According to an Experian study, 33 percent of the 15 million Americans who have been the victim of identity theft had their devices hacked while traveling.

 

At times, your company cannot wait until you get back to the office if an urgent matter comes up. For example, while you're waiting at the airport, you may need to email a proposal for landing a major account or help an employee resolve an issue with an unhappy client. To stay connected to the office, many travelers carry a laptop, tablet, and a smartphone. However, if travelers don't take necessary cybersecurity measures, nearby hackers can break into your devices, eavesdrop on your activities, and initiate fraudulent schemes.

 

Cybercriminals can spy on your activities in these common travel areas:
• Airports, transportation depots, cruise ports
• Coffee shops, restaurants, bars
• Planes, trains, buses, cruise ships
• Around the hotel including lobbies, convention halls, and swimming pools

 

To ensure safe device use during your trips, you can:

Update operating systems, applications, and browsers before you depart for your trip. Don't do these activities while you're away, as you are at a greater risk of downloading impostor malware. Also, scan your devices with anti-virus software and delete apps you are not using.

Turn off your Bluetooth, file sharing, and Wi-Fi auto-connect settings. Cybercriminals can use these channels to hijack your devices.

Keep devices and drives locked in your luggage while they are with you. Devices should be carried on, instead of checked. Once in the hotel, lock devices and drives you will not use in the room safe.

Use your own devices whenever possible. Assume that any devices that don't belong to you are not secure.

Make sure devices are password and/or PIN protected and the home screen is set to lock after a period of inactivity.

Be aware of your surroundings when working in a public area. Make sure people nearby cannot look over your shoulder at your device activities.

Do not leave devices unattended when you are out in public, such as leaving a laptop on a coffee shop table to go to the restroom.

Stick with Wi-Fi signals that require a password. Criminals can create impostor signals with official-sounding names similar to the airport, hotel, and restaurant. Confirm the correct name of the Wi-Fi signal with the facility you are at before connecting.

Use a VPN while on a public Wi-Fi signal. A VPN can hide your IP address and encrypt your communications. Plus, if you are abroad and need to access a website that's banned in your destination, such as Facebook in China, the VPN will allow you to access the site by listing your device IP address as being from the U.S. We recommend using SonicWall for work devices and NordVPN for personal devices.

Using public computers at an airport or hotel business center is risky. They may be loaded with spyware and not maintained on a regular basis. If you need to use one of these computers, limit it to looking at non-sensitive information such as transportation schedules, attraction hours, and maps. We recommend against logging into any online accounts with these computers. Use the internet browser's incognito window and make sure the browsing history, cookies, and cache are cleared before ending your session.

Use wired internet, private Wi-Fi, and mobile data when working with sensitive information. It's much tougher for hackers to intercept your data. For example, for internet use outside the hotel room, you can purchase a data plan from a telecommunications provider, such as AT&T, and insert their provided SIM card into the device of your choice. Plus, that device can become your personal Wi-Fi hotspot for your other devices.

When accessing online accounts, make sure the website address starts with "https://."

Limit your location sharing. Turn off location sharing on your devices when not using them. Also, don't share geotagged vacation photos on social media in real time. Criminals can compromise your email account and send out fake emergency money wiring requests to your contacts. In addition, thieves will see the photo postings as an opportunity to rob your home. Wait until you get back from vacation to share these photos.

If you are traveling abroad, consider using burner devices that include only the operating system and most essential applications. It lowers the chance of a data breach if your device is lost, stolen, or searched. When you return from the trip, wipe and reformat the devices. This is recommended especially in countries that have a reputation for engaging in cyber espionage, such as Russia and China.

If your trip requires going through customs and border patrols, log out of your accounts and shut off your devices. Anyone who tries to access your device will be required to enter login information.

If you believe one of your company devices was compromised, go to a private location with a secure internet connection and call SwiftTech Solutions. We can remote into your computer and remove malware that was installed on your device. Also, go to another device to change your online passwords and monitor your financial statements for any fraudulent activity.

 

Contact us at 877-794-3811 or [email protected] for Professional IT Support

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