2021 is looking to be a banner year for vacations due to the COVID vaccine rollout and the loosening of pandemic restrictions. Many people are looking forward to getting away and enjoying a little rest and relaxation.
Most people will be bringing their various tech devices, like Kindles, iPads, smartphones, and laptops, with them. This can significantly increase the risk of identity theft and a data breach of personal or business information.
Approximately 20% of international travelers experience cybercrime.
When on vacation, people are away from their normal home and business networks and connecting to unknown Wi-Fi at airports, hotels, and tourist spots. This leaves them at high risk of a man-in-the-middle attack from a hacker connected to that same network.
Before you leave on a trip, make sure to check out our list of security tips to help you have a happy and cybercrime-free vacation.
Use a Trusted VPN
Staying off any public Wi-Fi while on vacation is not usually feasible for most people. The first thing many of us do when we check-in and drop our bags in our hotel room is to connect to the hotel’s Wi-Fi.
The way you can keep your internet data from being compromised by a hacker on the same network is to use a virtual private network (VPN) from a trusted provider. VPNs will encrypt your data traffic and provide security when on public internet connections.
Put Screen Locks on All Devices
People are usually easily distracted during travel. They’re focused on their trip, the fun they’re having, etc. This means they can let their guard down and think it’s fine to leave their laptop sitting on a food court table while they take a few steps to the napkin dispenser.
But those few seconds are all that’s needed for an experienced thief to make off with your electronics.
Using a screen lock on your devices can keep a thief from stealing your data and having access to all your stored passwords by giving you a few extra minutes to do a remote lock or wipe of your device.
Turn On Find/Lock My Device Features
Speaking of a remote lock and wipe, you should be turning on the “Find/Lock My Device” feature for your mobile devices. These are included in smartphone, tablet, and laptop utilities on most operating systems.
Electronics can easily get lost or stolen on a trip, and having these features turned on can be a lifesaver to help you find where you left your phone or protect your data from a thief.
Turn Off Sharing & Discovery
Sharing and discovery features can allow an attacker to get into your device. You want to turn off both. Turning off sharing will ensure your device isn’t sharing folders or files with strangers. When discovery is turned off, your device name won’t show up when strangers on the same Wi-Fi are connecting or looking for other devices on the same network.
Use MFA for All Your Cloud App & Web Logins
If your password is stolen when you’re on vacation, which can happen when you log into accounts while on public Wi-Fi, you can keep the thief from getting in with MFA.
If you don’t want to go through MFA for all of your accounts, at least use it for any attached to money, including your online banking, iTunes, and any online shopping accounts that have your credit card stored.
Don’t Put Devices in Checked Luggage
Your devices will typically hold more than just the files and images on their hard drives. They often have passwords stored in browsers, are logged in to various accounts, and can be synced with a cloud storage account. They also hold work and personal email.
So, protecting them is vital to avoiding a data breach for the company you work for as well as identity theft or credit card fraud.
You want to keep your devices with you or locked in a hotel safe at all times. Putting a laptop or tablet in a checked bag could result in your luggage arriving, but your electronics being stolen.
Only Charge Devices in Trusted Places
There is a scam that’s popular in tourist spots called “juice jacking.” This is when hackers set up fake charging stations that are connected to a USB cord. Mobile manufacturers have utilized the USB for charging, but this is also a data transfer connection.
If you accidentally connect to one of these fake charging stations, you could end up having your entire device cloned by a hacker. Only charge your devices in trusted areas.
Get a Pre-Trip Security Check of Your Devices
Texas I.T. Pros can work with your family or your Denton or Wise County business to provide a thorough security check of your devices before you travel. We can also help you deploy any recommended security protections.
Contact us today to learn more! Call 940-239-6500 or reach out online.