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Traveling today has become so much easier with technology. Technology can help you stay productive, entertained, and in touch with family, friends, and co-workers.
For many of us, having a cell phone or other electronic device is an essential part of having an enjoyable travel experience and it has become an essential part of daily life. Unfortunately, traveling with any device can make it even more challenging to keep your personal data private, and it also opens the door for potential device theft.
Whether you are traveling to Maui or just to your local Starbucks, if you are bringing your phone, laptop, tablet, or any device that can connect to the internet, then you should know how to keep your devices secure. It is necessary to take both physical and digital security precautions if you are using your favorite devices to access information while you are outside your secure home or work network.
Here are six simple and effective tips you can follow to keep you secure on the internet and not spoil your travel experiences with any online fraud.
Travel Tech Tip 1: Leave Devices at Home
If you can leave an electronic device at home, do so. Leaving a device at home will limit the ways a malicious actor can steal or access your data and devices. Do you absolutely need to bring your smartphone, laptop, and tablet on your trip?
Could you leave one or two of the devices at home? Traveling with devices is often necessary in order to stay connected while you are away from the office or home, but if a device is not absolutely necessary for your trip, you can leave it at home.
Travel Tech Tip 2: Properly Configure Your Devices
For the devices you can’t leave behind, configure each device for maximum security. Where possible, encrypt devices before traveling, install antivirus protection on your devices, and run all updates and patches to your systems and applications prior to your trip.
Back up any data on devices that will be traveling with you to make sure you will not lose important information if any devices are lost or stolen. By keeping your data protection and anti-virus software up-to-date and having encryption on your devices, you minimize the chances of someone getting access to your data in case they are able to get a hold of one of your devices.
Travel Tech Tip 3: Set Secure Passwords on Your Devices
Password protecting your device is Security 101 and serves as the first line of defense to protect your data. Before leaving, set strong passwords, screen locks, codes, etc. on all devices so sensitive and confidential information can’t be accessed if the device is misplaced or stolen. Create new passwords for the accounts you will need to access while you are on your trip.
Disable any functions that automatically enter your passwords in applications. Use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) where possible. Whether you are working or enjoying a much-needed vacation, make sure you never leave your phone, laptop, or tablet unattended and unlocked.
Travel Tech Tip 4: Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) In Public Spaces
Travelers are more susceptible to malicious attacks and data theft because of all the opportunities to connect to public WiFi networks. Whether you are waiting to board your flight at the airport, relaxing at the hotel, or enjoying a nice lunch at a nearby restaurant, unprotected networks can tempt you at every angle, and your smartphone is usually the easiest to connect.
When you connect to an unprotected network, it’s very easy for malicious actors to intercept your connection and access your data. A high-quality VPN is one of the best tools you can use to keep your information secure when connecting to public WiFi. A VPN encrypts your traffic so that malicious actors using the same network will not be able to access your information or even detect that you are online.
Travel Tech Tip 5: Only Use Public Computers For Random Browsing
Using a computer provided in a hotel lobby or café can be tempting, but using these devices is especially risky because, unlike your personal devices, you can’t control who will use the computer before or after you do. Using Business Center & Guest-Use Lobby PCs can leave you vulnerable to keylogging programs or other tracking software.
Using a Business Center computer to check airline schedules or the weather is not a problem. However, never log in to any of your personal or business accounts. Once you finish browsing the web using a public computer, clear your browser’s history, cache, download history, and cookies.
Travel Tech Tip 6: Turn off Automatic Replies
Whether you’re going on a business trip or you are just taking some personal time off, you may have a tendency to let your contacts know that you will not be able to reply to their e-mails. You will typically create an automatic reply that lets your contacts know when you will be gone. While this is a practice that many have done over the years, the issue is that anyone can receive your automatic reply.
If a cybercriminal receives an automatic reply, there is no limit to what they can do. What seems like an innocent automatic reply message can turn into cybercriminals posing as a supplier in need of immediate payment, reaching out to your staff and asking them to do things like buying gift cards when they know they can’t get a hold of you, or hacking into your account to steal sensitive and confidential data.
Being out of your regular environment can be exciting, but it can also be dangerous if you are not careful. You should always stay observant while you are traveling and if you must take your devices with you, be sure to keep all devices secured. By following these traveling tech tips, you can help ensure that you won’t be the victim of a successful hacking or identity theft attack.
For more security and tech tips, check out our YouTube videos and like/follow us on social media. Give us a call anytime at (719) 439-0599.