No question that the proliferation of digital devices multiplied by the amount of data that we share online or in the cloud creates additional opportunities for us to lose control of our sensitive information or even risk privacy leaks that put us at risk.
Here are three security risks you can avoid while traveling this holiday season:
- Never use public wifi to perform financial transactions. This includes wifi in hotels, airline or coffee shops you love. This includes wifi even on your own device. This even includes wifi you have been given a login to or paid money for.
- Why: The myriad opportunities for a hacker or digital spy to learn your passwords or watch your online actions from public wifi are legendary. DO NOT TRUST THESE NETWORKS.
- How to avoid:Use your own device and the bank’s own app on a cellular network to perform these transactions. If you must use a computer, consider a mifi device instead of wifi. If, at the very worst case, you must use a computer on untrusted wifi, connect to a vpn service first before connecting to your bank.
- Do not publish your travel adventures online until you’re back from your trip.
- Why: Telling the Facebooks or Instagrams that you’re lounging on a beach somewhere or that you, “can’t believe there’s only four days left of vacation,” is an open invitation for thieves to scout out and attack your home without much fear you will catch them since you basically gave them your itinerary. Also, if you think you’re safe because you think nobody knows where you live, consider how many of your Facebook or Instagram posts actually have pictures or reference things close to home–attackers can triangulate these other data sources to determine where you live.
- How to avoid: save your posts for after you get home, schedule them for the future, or (if you just must share) send intimate friends pictures through some other way (shared iOS photo streams are my favorite).
- Don’t give away too much information while traveling.
- Why: Often, while traveling, we have to call and pay a bill or talk to a doctor for something. Be conscious of who is around you and the privacy of your conversation. Believe it or not, a great security threat may be as simple as overhearing you use your credit card on the phone rather than at in the privacy
- How to avoid: Simply avoid public places and be vigilant of your surroundings.
Remember these simple steps to ensure your vacation is cyber safe!