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Cybersecurity risks during travel are usually higher than while your are at home or at your work. This post provides a number of cybersecurity tips for travelers. If you are traveling international, you need to be extra careful and prepare accordingly. Three steps you ought to take are: Security measures before, during and after your trip. Also, you must protect the device physically; you must connect to the Internet carefully; and you must have software protection. First, let us consider what cybersecurity measures you should take before you start your trip.
Cybersecurity Tips for Travelers Before the Trip
# 1. LOCK YOUR smart phone, laptops, and tables logically with strong passwords and physically. Set up new passwords for your trip. Yet better, set up a password for every app in your device. Keep your devices with you in public places — airports, restaurants, and hotels etc. The security safes in the hotels may lack strong security locks, so use them only if you have to.
#2. DISABLE AUTO-CONNECT to wireless and wired networks. Auto-connect is a nice feature when you are at home or at your work. But it could be an open door to hackers in a unprotected network. Connect to networks only if you NEED it and feel safe. In general, paid data networks from a service provider is safer than a free public WiFi network. Turn the bluetooth off, because they can be exploited for hacking or uploading malware.
#3. UPDATE ANTI-MALWARE software to the latest version. If you don’t have one, install one now. It is the easiest and the most effective protection against theft of personally sensitive information. Moreover, it guards against invading malware infections. If you have an Andoid phone you should have Google play protect.
#4. LEAVE DATA HOME. Backup all data and remove those that you will not need while traveling. Also, remove all apps that you will not need during your trip. A good side-effect of removing data and apps is that your device will run faster.
#5 CREATE THROWAWAY ACCOUNTS. Create online email accounts and cloud-storage accounts for the trip only use. In these accounts keep data and information for the trip as well as those you gather during your trip. Use of throwaway accounts isolates your regular accounts, and prevent them from potential attacks on them. After your return, retrieve necessary data and discard others.
Cybersecurity Tips for Travelers During the Trip
If you have taken the steps discussed above, you have prepared well for cybersecurity during the trip. Now let us consider some cybersecurity tips for travelers during their trip.
#6. AVOID PUBLIC WiFi. First, make sure that your auto-connect feature is disabled. Before you connect to a network, make sure that the network is password protected, that is, connection to the network requires a password. Password protected networks are safer, because access to the network is controlled, and possibility of some malicious-actor waiting to pray on all connected users is reduced. As mentioned earlier, it is better to use connection from a paid service provider. If you don’t have that option, limit your use to a minimum.
#7 AVOID PUBLIC COMPUTERS: Many hotels, libraries, and cyber cafes have computers for public use. But are they secure? Most likely not, because they are free service for everyone, including malicious actors. A malicious actor can easily install keylogger, adware, spyware, and other malware. More about these and other malware types can be found in Malware Types. Even if you use an end-to-end secure connection (see below), keyloggers can record everything you type and send to its installers!
#8. MAXIMIZE https USE. https is your true friend. In case you dont’t know difference between https and http, the former provides a end-to-end encrypted connection. Communication from and to you are not encrypted making it practically impossible for someone to spy on your communication. But http is an open channel and not only it can be read after intercepting, but it can also be replace by a ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacker. Always use https connections.
#9. MINIMIZE LOCATION SHARING. Sharing your location through social media is a common way of staying in touch with your friend and family. It is an indirect way of telling them what you are doing and how are you feeling. But they are not the only one who are getting this information. The malicious actors can utilize this information as well. They can utilize it from two fronts: where you are and where you are NOT now. Suppose you are in a meeting at noon and was in a hotel in the morning. Most likely, you have left your personal belonging in the hotel. So, it is an opportune time for malicious actors for stealing your property and personally sensitive information from your hotel room. In summary, minimize location sharing while you are traveling.
#10. USE PRIVACY SCREEN: If you will be using a laptop or tablet, then use a privacy screen for preventing someone reading our private information while you are working in public.
Cybersecurity Tips for Travelers After the Trip
Hopefully, cybersecurity measure you took have made your uneventful. Now let us see cybersecurity tips for travelers after their return.
#11. SCAN YOUR DEVICE FOR MALWARE: First thing first. Before you use your device after the trip, perform a complete scan for malware in the data and apps.
#12. REMOVE ALL DATA FROM YOUR DEVICE: All data that you acquired while on the trip, backup and remove.
Now restore everything in your device for normal use. These cybersecurity tips for travelers may sound too much to worry. But be safe than sorry; you don’t want to worry about your protection after something bad happen.