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Six cybersecurity tips for safe travels


How prepared are you?

With travel restrictions slowly lifting, there’s no doubt travel intentions will only grow from now. However, cybersecurity experts are warning travel businesses to beef up their security – and holidaymakers should take notice too.

 

Until recently, security advice centred around keeping your wallets close and luggage within eyeshot. But now it's essential to take cybersecurity into consideration as well thanks to the ubiquity of online transactions and growing presence of cybercriminals looking for an easy grab.

 

 

You can read about the dangers of social oversharing here, and check out our list of best security and privacy apps. But in this article, we'd like to give you six cybersecurity tips for safe travels. 

 

  1. Update your software

Cybercriminals are always looking for ways to exploit unprotected software and to extract as much value from that as possible. That's why it's important to update your devices before travelling. 

Software developers frequently release security updates for their services, and if you haven't updated yours yet, you may fall victim to a cyber attack. So always check your smartphone or laptop for the latest security updates before you go.

 

  1. Be careful on public wi-fi 

Public wi-fi safety is one of the major issues for security experts and a headache for travellers. Wi-fi hotspots are hard to resist when you're sitting for hours in an airport waiting for a flight, or when there’s free and fast wi-fi in your hotel. But these networks tend to have weak security configurations and are frequently exploited by cybercriminals. 

If you're connected to public wi-fi, make sure it's an authentic access point set up by the owner, and if you absolutely must perform financial transactions, be sure to use a VPN for additional protection.

 

  1. Use a password manager 

Password management is a crucial part of online safety. People are still using easy-to-guess passwords like "qwerty" or "password123" to protect their accounts, and reuse the same password for different services, which is bad practice.

But password managers help generate long, complex passwords for all of your accounts, and will even autofill them, so you don't have to remember them all (which we all know can be a headache).

Furthermore, some password managers have a username generator, so you can create a safe username while double-checking that it hasn't been used on the most popular platforms.

 

 

  1. Install an Antivirus 

Antivirus is a must for any device; it will scan your data for viruses and malware, and alert you if you're downloading something fishy. Some public hotspots have been hacked and will try to install malware on your device if you connect to them. But antivirus will protect you from that.

As with other security software, make sure your antivirus is updated with the latest improvements before leaving the safety of your home.

 

  1. Disable wi-fi auto-connect

As this is such a comfortable feature, auto-connecting to the nearest available wi-fi network may be set as a default on your device. But this action can be incredibly dangerous while travelling because cybercriminals set up fake wireless access points in the most popular hotspots. And once you’re connected to these networks, they start monitoring your data in the hope of finding important login details and passwords. So always make sure that your wi-fi auto-connect feature is off before departing.

 

  1. Lock your devices and use two-factor authentication 

This one may sound obvious, but is often overlooked and deserves a mention. If you misplace or lose your device, your first line of defense is a PIN-lock, without which your device cannot be accessed. You can lock it with a fingerprint too, if your gadget supports it.

So turn on two-factor authentication for your most important accounts. This way even if a cybercriminal somehow obtains your password, they will face another authentication obstacle, which can save you unnecessary damages.

 

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Published: 9 November 2020


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