And while there’s plenty to look forward to, travelers also need to remember that cybersecurity risks don’t vacation. As awareness of online safety has increased tremendously, more and more travelers are reporting that they have been victims of cyber fraud while on vacation.
With the long weekends ahead, Sophos shares 7 cybersecurity tips to keep in mind when travelling:
1) Make a backup copy before you start:
Always remember, “The only backup you will ever regret is the one you didn’t make.” Before you jet off on vacation, remember to back up all your data reliably. This also ensures that the devices you travel with contain minimal sensitive data.
2) Encrypt mobile devices:
Most modern cell phones are now pre-encrypted; However, accessing the underlying encryption and decryption keys requires a robust locking code. It is a good idea to reset lock codes before you travel. Avoid using simple codes or numbers that follow a sequence and are easy to guess.
3) Be prepared to unlock devices when crossing international borders:
Countries with border controls often reserve the right to ask you as a traveler to unlock your electronic devices and present them for inspection. This is in the interest of security and can sometimes be a lengthy process. Some countries may even require a forensic copy, which means every sector of the device is copied, including disc sectors that contain previously erased data. In addition, they can request proof of residential address as well as your social media addresses.
While you can choose not to share this information, you can then be assured that the country you choose to visit follows the My Kitchen, My Rules policy. In such cases, check the entry requirements before the planned visit and take stock of the devices and data you are taking with you.
4) Use public WiFi with caution
When using public WiFi, always remember to access websites and apps that follow the right encryption systems. When browsing, make sure that the websites you visit start with https://. This encrypts the data before it leaves your laptop or phone and (in theory) decrypts it only after it arrives at the other end.
When accessing the Internet, always remember that services that require the installation of a special digital certificate would result in spying on the browsing activity. Another good option to avoid using public WiFi is to buy a local SIM card with a prepaid data plan for the duration of your visit.
5) Avoid using kiosk PCs in airports or hotels:
Unless unavoidable, limit the use of PC kiosks at airports and hotels. While using such services, do not log into personal social media accounts while browsing. When using kiosks, there is an element of trust and you need to trust the company – be it the hotel, the airport and the technicians accessing these devices.
Unlike a hacked WiFi access point, which can only spy on (hopefully encrypted) data between it and its target, a hacked kiosk PC might have unrestricted access to everything you send and receive. Kiosk PCs are also largely unencrypted, so they can track every keystroke, take screenshots of everything you do, and keep an exact copy of everything you print.
6) Be careful with spy cameras in hotel rooms and guesthouses:
Unfortunately, spy cameras hidden in guest accommodations are a reality today. Sometimes these are relatively easy to spot after searching the room. Very often, however, spy cameras are small enough to hide almost anywhere and do not always appear on the property’s public Wi-Fi network.
Unfortunately, the lack of a spy camera doesn’t mean there isn’t one. What you can do is search the room for conspicuous hiding places like clocks, duplicate smoke detectors, electronic “gizmos”, etc. If there is a camera in the room, photograph it and also photograph the property to show that no damage was caused that could be used by the perpetrator as an excuse or counterclaim. You should also report the incident to the local police, hotel headquarters or landlord.
7) Get company permission before wearing official devices:
It is always advisable to obtain the company’s approval before traveling with official laptops. If they say no, the matter remains closed and you should move on. If you are carrying it, be sure to let your IT team and managers know the destination you are going to visit and when you intend to use the device.
Carrying more data than you need while on vacation can be dangerous. Therefore, taking care of your data and devices is important to enjoy a fun, accident-free vacation