An interesting topic was brought to my attention recently. I’d like to take a moment to thank those who provide feedback for this blog. It is always appreciated when our clients provide topics they are interested in learning more about. Summer is coming to a close and traveling is fresh on everyone’s minds. Whether traveling to a nearby beach or another country, we always have our devices with us. We use them to capture precious moments to share with family and friends. While away on business we are able to work remotely using public WiFi. Either way, the data we host on these devices is precious and important to us. It is crucial to stay mindful of cyber security even when on vacation or away on business.
Cyber security risk can be ever present when traveling. They range from identity thieves looking to steal your personal identifiable information (PII), to criminals at home monitoring your location when you’re away for the weekend. Credit card skimmers, public wifi, and foreign law provide unavoidable security challenges that put your data at risk without you even knowing. Location services and sharing services for social media may put your home at risk while you’re away. Cybersecurity best practices always good to follow, but there are some specific rules of the road to follow when traveling.
Public WiFi at hotels or airports can be a huge convenience for those traveling for business and need to still access to the office. Free or public WiFi is double edge sword, typically free and convenient, however unaware who else may be lurking on the network. Cyber thieves can position themselves between you and the internet on these unsecured networks. Enabling them to monitor the personal information sent over the network. This could include sensitive e-mails, credit card information, or business usernames and passwords. The more creative hackers are able to setup rogue login portals on these networks. They are able to use this method to distribute malware and virus that will stay with long after you leave the public network. Later we will cover using VPNs and other techniques to protect devices on public WiFi.
Public USB Chargers
Unfortunately, use of those convenient USB chargers in airports and hotels is a security risk. Unsuspecting users of USB chargers don’t see the hidden computers that hackers could attach to them. These compromised USB chargers are used to install malicious code and give hackers remote access to a device. This malware gives them access to your PII and can even monitor the location of a device. Some smartphone manufacturers do put safeguards in place. However, if while using one these stations you unlock your smartphone, you remove the safe guards and open the flood gates to any malicious code to be installed. It’s best to avoid using these public charging stations and carry a portable battery charger. If you absolutely have to use a USB charger, do not unlock your device or turn off your device before charging it.
Rules of the Road
This article just covers some of the threats one may come across when traveling. Cybersecurity risk while traveling is a multifaceted issue. Unfortunately, one blog post cannot possibly cover all the rules of the road. To address this we’ve decided to host a free webinar to cover the best practices for dealing with cyber security risk while traveling. We will have a panel discussion with our cyber security professionals to answer any your questions.