One in five travelers has been hit by cybercrime while traveling abroad, according to Kaspersky Lab, a global cyber security company. To help avoid being hacked, read these expert tips for practicing safe Internet use when traveling, courtesy of consumer advocate Christopher Elliott and USA Today Travel.
Only use HTTPS – “Never trust open Wi-Fi networks that require no passwords,” says Michael Canavan, a Kaspersky senior vice president. What’s wrong with an open network? “Hackers may set up fake Wi-Fi spots masquerading as a genuine hotel network,” says David Balaban, an expert on ransomware. “They create duplicate Wi-Fi networks using the hotel’s branded online materials. They use stronger signals and lure users to connect to them instead of the genuine hotel network.”
To be safer, only use HTTPS — Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http) with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) — when you’re online, especially when you’re on the road. “It’s a more secure option set up by a website that knows security is essential,” says Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com. Look for https:// in the address bar, signifying it’s a secure page. Even on an open, unsecure wireless connection, HTTPS is more secure.
If you have to be on a public Wi-Fi network, always use VPN while connected on any public Wi-Fi network,” say cyber security expert Sanjay Deo. “This will encrypt your communications and help reduce chances of being hacked.”
Update your device – Another common error: hitting the road with obsolete operating systems or software. Before you go, remove unnecessary information from your laptops and mobile devices and backup all the data you want to keep and set your web browsers to the highest security setting possible.
Also make sure your devices are updated with the latest versions of your applications, anti-virus, anti-malware and other software updates. To protect your devices while on vacation, secure them with a lengthy PIN number or strong password, and encrypt any data locally stored on those devices.
Internet safety expert, Darren Guccione also recommends activating anti-theft applications such as “find my phone” that allow you to lock the phone if it’s stolen. “So if your phone or tablet is stolen, you can track it, disable it and change all the passwords,” he says.
Don’t advertise you’re away – Don’t post location updates or geo-tagged photos on social media. They can reveal your current and future travel plans to criminals and ne’er do wells. The latest threat: virtual kidnappings, which are becoming more common in Latin America. Cyber stalkers contact your family, claim you’re their hostage, and demand immediately a sum of money, usually affordable and easily wired,” says Mark Deane, CEO of ETS Risk Management.
Don’t leave your device unattended. “The biggest danger travelers have is losing their devices,” says Jason Hong, a professor at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science. “Don’t leave your devices unattended in public places, because they can be quickly and easily stolen.” Pro tip: Put your name on your device, in case someone returns it to lost and found. Hong tapes his business card to the bottom of his laptop.
Source: USA Today Travel