Going on vacation or traveling for business? One thing you can’t forget to take with you is vigilance. Hacking is a global enterprise and there are all kinds of traps and tricks just lying in wait for busy travelers.
Here are some simple tips that could improve your cybersecurity while traveling and help you avoid putting your foot in one of those traps.
Think twice about using computers at those guest business centers many hotels offer. The Secret Service recently issued a warning that hackers are registering at hotels, using stolen identities, so they can get access to those computers. Once in, they’ll download keyloggers that can steal the personal information and passwords of any guests using those computers.
Beware the call from hotel front desk claiming that there’s a problem with your credit card and asking you to confirm the number. Scammers simply call the hotel, ask for a random room number, and once put through simply pretend to be the hotel front desk.
Feeling peckish? Might want to give that pizza a miss, especially if the menu was slipped under your door. Thieves are printing high quality pizza menus and delivering them to hotel guests so they can steal credit card numbers when guests call to order their favorite slice.
If you find a USB drive on the ground, might be best if you just walk on by. A clever trick by hackers is to simply abandon expensive-looking USB drives, sometimes branded with well-known business names, in the hope that a curious passer-by will pick it up and insert it into their own computer to see what’s on it. What they won’t see is the malware the USB drive contains.
Speaking of USB drives, if you’re traveling to a conference, resist the temptation to accept USB giveaways from exhibitors. Apart from the fact that the individual offering the freebies may not actually be with the conference, you have no idea what their computer hygiene is like.
If you insist on taking a laptop or tablet with you, layer it with security. At the very least, anything sensitive should be encrypted. And make sure every device has a security program, like the free LookOut, that can help find a lost or stolen device, remotely lock or wipe it so the data is useless to thieves, and will back up and restore everything that was on it.
Don’t be tempted by free WiFi. Across the world, hackers have set up their own Wi-Fi networks close to popular hotels, airports, and conference centers in the hope that busy travelers will mistake the network for the real thing. Same rule goes for coffee shops, where hackers often lurk and eavesdrop. If you must use free or unknown WiFi, consider using one of the many free VPN services that will protect your information.
Make sure that any laptop or tablet you bring with you doesn’t contain any stored passwords. That will make it much easier for a thief to get far beyond just stealing your device.
Remember that in many countries, government surveillance is very common, and the target is often the intellectual property and business secrets of traveling executives. Phone calls and emails may be monitored, and many government agencies can get free access to hotel rooms so they can examine guest devices when they’re not there. So mind what you bring and what you say.
If you think you’re going to have to make sensitive phone calls or send sensitive emails or texts, consider using one of the growing number of free security apps, like Redphone and Wickr, that will encrypt phone calls, text messages, emails, photos and even videos to military grade.
Back up your devices before you leave, then wipe everything you don’t need. If your device is stolen, you’ll be giving up very little personal information to a thief. And you can very simply restore all that information when you get home.
The world is full of a new type of highway bandit, a bandit who’s very sophisticated, completely invisible, and who wants your data more than your money. Keep your guard up and your devices close. And of course while you’re gone you can rest assured that SiteLock will be constantly and vigilantly watching over your website. Contact SiteLock today to start a free consultation with our website security specialists.