While keeping the right supplies and clothes on their summer vacation checklist, typical travelers should also check to ensure they are prepared to be cyber-safe with their devices and data while on the road! Your smart phones and laptops contain everything from your banking and payment information to your treasured family photos, and it is paramount to secure them while away from home. With National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA), we have compiled some key tips, strategies, and resources to aid you in being secure during your travels.
To do before your trip:
Update your devices: One of the most simple and effective ways to stay cyber-secure is to continuously update your devices as they contain new features and fix security flaws!
Password/Passcode protect your devices: Always establish a strong passcode with at least 6 numbers or a swipe pattern with at least 1 turn of direction when securing your smartphone. On laptops, a minimum 8 character password is recommended including uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers.
Set your device to lock after an amount of time: Once secured with a passcode, you should set an automatic device lock prompting for the access code after a specified time of inactivity.
Use Trusted Websites: Plan your trip with trusted, known businesses. Guarantee yourself a higher standard of security by double checking the reviews and reputation of potential sites you are considering to use for your booking.
Staying secure and connected during your trip:
Keep track of your devices: Your phone is home to a bunch of valuable and personal information. Keep your devices close at hand or secured away when not in use to prevent theft.
Limit your activity on public Wi-Fi networks: Public Wi-Fi that does not require credentials or logging in is not protected by encryption, so your internet activity including transactions and account information are vulnerable to prying eyes. To ensure your information is not at risk:
- Use your phone carrier’s internet connection or personal hotspot when logging into personal accounts or conducting transactions.
- Ensure your device is set to ask your permission before connecting to a wireless network while on your trip.
- Verify what network is the correct one to use with a member of the staff if you intend to use a hotel or establishment’s customer wireless network.
Don’t overshare on social media: Criminals may see that you are away from home based on social media content and attempt to steal from your home. To ensure your safety:
- Limit details about your location during your trip, as some scammers may attempt to contact loved ones with a variety of scam tactics. Post updates after you return.
- Consider setting your social media accounts to only allow friends to view your posts and content.
By following these tips and being a cyber-safe traveler, you will have a smooth and enjoyable vacation! Learn more about cyber security.