Cybersecurity while traveling When getting ready to go on a vacation or business trip, it is important to keep in mind that you are still a target for cyber criminals.
Here are a few tips to keep you safe during your travels:
Back up the information on your computer before you travel. That way if you lose your equipment, you won’t lose all your information.
Carry your portable device in an inconspicuous bag. Flashy, branded or logo bags and expensive cases draw attention to your device. Remember to never leave your device unattended.
Keep in mind that Wi-Fi networks in public places like coffee shops, libraries or airports are not secure. Never send personal information through public Wi-Fi and disable the connection when you’re not using it.
Don’t announce in online status updates when you’re going away on vacation, when you’ve made a big purchase or events that mention your address. You may also want to delete online posts from friends who mention these things to avoid the possibility of your home being robbed while you’re away.
Be aware of the risks when tagging the location of the photos you share on social media. This lets people know where you are. If you feel the need to tag the location of a photo, a safer option would be to post the photo with the tagged location after you’re safely home.
Purge unnecessary information from your mobile phone
Erase everything you don’t absolutely need to keep on your mobile phone, like your browsing history, passwords, emails and text messages. That way, if your phone is ever stolen, that information will not be.
If you decide to sell your phone, remember to do a factory data reset before you give it to the new owner. This will wipe all of the data that has ever been stored on it, including access to your personal accounts, systems and apps data, photos, videos, music, etc.
Back up your information first, and then wipe the phone clean so the next owner cannot log into your accounts or use your private pictures, contacts and confidential information.
Information being transmitted over unsecure Wi-Fi (like in a hotel lobby or coffee shop) is vulnerable to being stolen. Some of the information that you are storing or sharing from your device, like the time you usually leave the house in the morning, your health history, and financial information could be useful to cybercriminals and should be kept safe.
Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi networks as they are not always secure. It is safest to use trusted Wi-Fi connections that are password protected. Turn off Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth when you are not using them.
Stop saving your debit or credit card details on your online accounts
You know that tempting little “remember my details” box? Don’t check it. Not for your cloud provider; not for your favourite ecommerce retailer; don’t save your debit or credit card details anywhere online! No cards saved on any account, no matter how secure you might consider it.
If you want to buy something online, take your time and fill in the credit card details every single time. It’s worth the 30 seconds it takes. The lazy alternative comes with a high risk of card fraud.
This question may have crossed your mind. If it hasn’t, you should consider what you would do. Simply put, there are two scenarios:
If you have a backup of your data, the answer is NO; you shouldn’t pay. Even if you do get infected with ransomware, you can always wipe your system, reinstall your operating system (OS), restore your backup and carry on.
If you don’t have a backup of your data, the answer is still NO. Even the FBI advises the same. There are several reasons for this:
Cyber attackers are not exactly trustworthy individuals, so there’s no guarantee you’ll get your decryption key and your data back.
By paying the ransom, you’re fueling the malware economy, which is already thriving and affecting all of us through the damages it creates.
Every paid ransom is feeding another similar attack on other people, and the next victim could be someone you love.
The more information you share, the more appealing you are to cyber criminals. Consequently, social media is the perfect place for cyber criminals to do what they do best: impersonate, manipulate, steal data and/or money and compromise your account. And the infections they launch often spread like wildfire.
Even if you are cyber security savvy, that doesn’t mean your Facebook friends are too. Plus, social media threats are getting more varied and sophisticated.
Tips for staying safe on social media:
Avoid geotagging photos. Most smartphones and many digital cameras automatically attach the exact location where a photo was taken – and when you share it online, the geotag can give away your address or let criminals know that you're on vacation, which could make your home a target for break-in. Check the manual of your device to turn off geotagging, and remove geotags from older photos with photo editing software.
When shopping or banking online make sure you’re using secure sites. Websites that start with https:// or shttp:// use higher security measures than ones that begins with http://. To make your browsing more secure, install HTTPS Everywhere for Chrome, Firefox, Android and Opera. This free extension will encrypt your communication with major websites, thus increasing your browsing security. This will make the data you send and receive from the websites encrypted, so cyber criminals won’t be able to snoop on the information transfer and steal your data.