Cyber Security Tips for Summer Travel

All month the Smart Solutions team has been sharing tips about cyber security and cyber awareness.  Here is a quick summary of recommendations for your summer travel:

1. Be cautious of public Wi-Fi

Free public Wi-Fi is a hacker’s playground for stealing personal information.  One of the dangers of using a public Wi-Fi network is that data over this type of open connection is often unencrypted and unsecured, leaving you vulnerable. Cybercriminals exploit security flaws in networks to intercept data.  Essentially, hackers will gain access to sniff out any information that passes between you and the websites you visit — details of browsing activities, account logins, and purchase transactions. Your sensitive information, such as passwords and financial data, are then vulnerable to identity theft.  Unsecured is unsecured.  Avoid it at all costs.  If you absolutely must, set up a VPN or virtual private network. A VPN creates a “secure tunnel” where data sent over a Wi-Fi connection is encrypted, making all that data sent to and from your device secure.

2. Disable Auto-Connect / Bluetooth Connectivity

To disable auto-connect, go into phone settings, turn off the auto-connect feature and be on your way.  Most recent model phones will have this feature turned on unless you turn it off.  Do yourself a favor and avoid connecting to unknown networks by adjusting this setting.  It’s simple and will keep your data safe. If your phone powers down or you shut it off, be sure to check your settings as the manufacturer default may be to keep this feature on when power is reset.  If you have to use Bluetooth, make sure your device is invisible to others.


3. Update your passwords

To mitigate the risk of compromised passwords and accounts, be safe and remember to change the password to any accounts you access while travelling, especially overseas.  According to research conducted by Thytoctic, 80% of all cyber security attacks involve a weak or stolen password. Changing your password regularly reduces your risk of exposure and avoids a number of dangers.


4. Don’t update when not on a known network

Install updates to your technology at home while connected to a trusted Wi-Fi source.  Avoid installing updates while connected to a public Wi-Fi network. This is because many hackers try to trick unsuspecting users with download and update prompts that are actually viruses.  Make sure that all of your apps and programs are updated prior to leaving for your trip.

Check out this great video from IBM published by Cheddar:

Bottom line- be aware, stay aware, and take preventative measures to keep your data safe.