Summertime calls for cybersecurity while traveling

Improving Cybersecurity for Iowans

Summertime calls for cybersecurity while traveling

Summer is in full swing, so it’s time for travel and vacation. The last thing you want to happen while traveling or on vacation is a cyberattack. Here are a few ways to avoid a cyberattack when traveling.

Be conscious of what you post online

Both personal safety and cybersecurity measures, posting where you are or where you’re going might alert new opportunities to attackers. For example, posting online that you’re traveling tells attackers that your home is empty. So, your home is vulnerable to any sort of physical attack. This is a cybersecurity issue because the physical threat is enabled by a cyber event.

Have a security plan before connecting to public WiFi

Public WiFi is sometimes unsafe. If you connect to public WiFi—at an airport or hotel, for instance—avoid signing into websites with sensitive information. Logging in to a website poses a threat to your username and password. Password sniffers—programs and people that monitor the network traffic for login credentials—can detect your credentials and use them to gain access to personal information, such as social media, online banking and other sites.

To prevent this, connect to a virtual private network (VPN) when connecting to the WiFi or connect to a personal hotspot. A VPN will encrypt your device’s connection to the internet. So, even if a password sniffer detects traffic, it would only find encrypted gibberish, not your password. Not connecting to the WiFi or using a hotspot requires cell service, but it is safe.

Use your credit card instead of your debit card

Unlike your credit card, your debit card is directly linked to your bank account. If your debit card or debit card number is stolen, the thief has access to the money in that account.

If you only use your credit card on your trip, no potential thief has access to your bank account. A thief could surely rack up the balance on your credit card, but your credit card company can help dispute the charges you did not make.

A thief of a debit card or bank account information may spend your actual money and share the bank information with others.

Add a passcode to your phone

Make sure your cell phone has the appropriate level of protection. Add a passcode or password to protect what is on your phone. This is especially important if debit cards, credit cards, or passwords are stored on it.

Leave work at home or your office

If you need to bring your work laptop, phone, or other device with you on your trip, do not allow kids or unauthorized people to use the device to prevent any cyber trouble with work devices. With the amount of sensitive data on work equipment, it is best to separate personal use from work devices.

Using a work device on travel is also a reason to use a VPN. Keep the abundant sensitive data on work devices safe with the protection of a VPN.

These methods of protection can be done before you travel, so you will not have to constantly think about it while you’re on the road, in the air, or in a different area. Enjoy the time away without worrying about the security of your personal information.

For more information and tips on personal cybersecurity, visit www.iowacyberhub.org.