Sharing isn’t always caring
Avoid publicly posting details of where and when you’ll be traveling. When you reveal these specifics, you’re providing information that could be used by criminals to target your home or your family while you’re gone.
Sending private posts and photos during your vacation to family and friends is OK, but if you post them publicly, you increase the risk of someone using that information for malicious activities. Also, ensure your children and friends understand the risks associated with posting your vacation plans.
Accessing public computers and Wi-Fi
Don’t use public computers and open wireless networks for sensitive online transactions. Wi-Fi spots in airports, hotels, coffee shops and other public places can be convenient; however, they’re often unsecure and can leave you at risk.
If you’re accessing the internet through an unsecured network, you should be aware malicious individuals might be able to eavesdrop on your connection. This could allow them to steal your financial information, login credentials or other sensitive information. Any public Wi-Fi should be considered “unsecure.”
Consider turning off features on your computer or mobile device that allow them to automatically connect to Wi-Fi and other services such as social media websites.
Also, consider using a cellular 3G / 4G connection as a hotspot, which is generally safer than an open Wi-Fi connection. If you do connect through your hotel’s Wi-Fi, verify the name of the Wi-Fi hotspot with a hotel staff member.
Know the law
Keep in mind that if you’re traveling abroad, different countries have different laws, which may allow government employees or law enforcement full access to your device without your knowledge or permission. It’s also important to know the local laws regarding online behavior, as some online behaviors, such as posting disparaging comments or pictures of illegal activity on social media websites, can be illegal.
Below are tips to protect your important information.
- Use discretion when posting information online. Consider keeping your social media pages private, so only authorized individuals can visit.
- Password protect your devices so if they’re lost or stolen, the information is protected. Also, enable device tracking.
- Make sure your laptop and other mobile devices have the latest patches installed. Your software vendor should notify you whenever an update is available. Set your devices to automatically update.
- Use of security software is a necessity. Some programs can also locate a missing or stolen phone, tablet or other similar device. Some devices can even back up and remotely wipe all data from them, if reported stolen.
- Make sure you have anti-virus software installed, updated and running.
- Don’t access sensitive accounts (for example: financial institutions, credit cards, etc.) or conduct sensitive transactions over public networks, including hotel and airport Wi-Fi and business centers or cafes. Whenever possible, use wired connections instead of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections.
- Don’t plug USB cables into public charging stations. Only connect USB-powered devices using the intended AC power adapter.