Online Security Tips While Traveling
Travelers often worry about flight delays, bad weather and disappointing accommodations when thinking about the factors that could ruin a vacation. However, a lack of secure Internet access and haphazard habits online can wreak havoc lasting long after beach tans fade away. According to Pew Research, about 27 percent of adults in the U.S. age 65 or older own a tablet or e-reader device and 18 percent of seniors own a smartphone. Downloading an e-book or sending a quick note home can be costly if the proper precautions are not taken.
PrivateGiant CEO and security expert Shaun Murphy (www.privategiant.com) has created a series of tips travelers can use to help keep their personal information and private files safe while away from home.
Prep Before You Go
Patch Up. Packing, printing airline tickets and organizing maps are not the only to-do list items that need to be tended to before a vacation begins. Check all devices staying at home or going on the trip for software updates. Not running system updates is like putting out the welcome mat for cybercriminals. Operating system security holes that could have easily been patched with a quick click can leave you vulnerable to hacks.
Remove Data. Removing unnecessary sensitive data from your devices going on the trip including photos, videos, financial documents and stored passwords can save you from heartache and headaches down the road if your devices are breached, stolen or misplaced.
Wipe Your History. Clear your browser cache files and remove saved passwords. If you accidentally connect to an unsecure Wi-Fi network while travelling do not make it effortless for criminals to steal your private information such as bank access, work emails or photos.
Fake It. Create temporary passwords for sites you plan on accessing while travelling. It is estimated that 60% of people use the same password, or a variation of one, for every account. If you get hacked while traveling, having a temporary “throwaway” password for email or social media will prevent a headache of worry over if your home accounts were compromised.
Browse Safely. Make sure you are using a secured connection to websites when available. A simple “s” (https:// instead of http:// in your web browser’s URL bar) will protect you from most threats local and remote. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a utility that will automatically use a secure connection for you. Learn more about it at https://www.eff.org/Https-everywhere.
Double Down. Enable two-factor authentication on your important web services (email, social media, etc.) so in the event that someone does gain access to your passwords they need a second code to get in. Guidelines for setting up two-factor authentication can be found at http://www.google.com/landing/2step/.