Sometimes people get so caught up in the excitement and planning stages of traveling, that they forget about other factors that could really put a damper on their venture. One area in particular that should be paid attention to before traveling anywhere is cyber security. In this digital world, part of ensuring that you’re safe means making sure that your personal (or professional) information cannot be damaged or stolen by cyber thieves. The thing about cyber attacks is that they can happen in an instant, and if you’re not prepared, dealing with the aftermath can be a lot more than you bargained for.
Check out these tips on how to ensure that you’re safe before you plan your next trip:
Ways to Be Attacked
If you’re not really up to speed on technology, you might assume that the only way to be attacked would be by visiting a virus filled website. However, there are several ways in which hackers can view, store, and steal your information for their own purposes. Some of the more common ways individuals experience a cyber attack while traveling include:
Losing a mobile device
Utilizing a public wi-fi connection to access important information
Utilizing an unsecure network to shop and or access important information
Not realizing that there are viruses or malware on your mobile device until the damage is done.
Now that you have an idea of ways that you can be attacked, let’s talk more about how to prevent it from happening.
Before the Trip
Ensure that you have updated all the anti-virus software on your mobile devices. You should run a scan to make sure that your devices are safe and that the software is working effectively. If you’re going to utilize public network connections, it may also be important to enhance the features of your Internet software so that you are aware in real time when there is an issue with your device. Also, be sure to erase your web browsing history and cookies as these can be easily accessed containing personal information such as your contact or credit information.
Reach out to your credit card companies. You want to let them know that you will be traveling and where you will be. This way they can easily notify you of any suspicious activities on your account.
Make sure that all of your files on your mobile devices are backed up either to an online cloud storage account or to a separate drive that can be stored in a safe place in case you lose your data during travel. This will make things easier to retrieve if necessary.
During Your Vacation
Make sure that you have strong passwords on your mobile devices to prevent easy access for those with ill intentions. When creating a password, you want to make sure that you don’t utilize personal information that is easy to depict such as a first name or birth date. Try using a phrase with a mixture of numbers, symbols, and other characters to make it harder to hack into.
Keep your mobile devices with you at all times. By ensuring that you have secure carrying cases for your devices you can protect them from certain elements of your trip (i.e. a waterproof case would prevent water damage if you plan on hitting a beach). Also if you’re going to walk away from your device even for a second, make sure that you lock it so that a password is required or leave it with someone you trust for safekeeping.
If you want to take advantage of free public wi-fi connections or even utilize someone else’s network connections, make sure that you do not access any sites with personal information. This might include accessing your checking or savings account or even making transactions where you have to input your credit card information. You don’t want to run the risk of having your identity stolen.
After the Trip
When you come home you want to complete one more step to ensure that you and your family are safe and secure. Run a virus scan on all of your devices to ensure that there are no lingering viruses you should be aware of. Also, you may want to consider resetting your passwords just in case there was a chance yours was accessed during your trip.
These simple precaution before, during, and after your next scheduled vacation can give you complete peace of mind. There is nothing like trying to have a good time only to be interrupted by the negative actions of a cyber attack. While nothing is foolproof when it comes to modern technology, you can certainly minimize the risks by being precautious and planning ahead.
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