Heading out of town this summer? As you plan your itinerary, checking off your to-do list of what to bring with you and where to visit, make sure you’re planning for cyber safety while on vacation. Traveling can expose you to various cyber threats, but with a little proactivity before you hit the road, you can protect your personal information and devices. Learn how to stay safe with the following essential cybersecurity travel tips.

Secure Your Devices

  • Update your software: Before you leave your home, ensure all your devices — smartphones, tablets, and laptops—are updated with the latest operating systems and security patches. In doing this, you’ll be sure that any performance bugs are fixed and that you have the latest security features to protect against vulnerabilities that hackers might exploit.
  • Use strong passwords: While your dog’s name may be an easy password to remember, it’s definitely not a strong one. Your devices will be more secure with unique passwords. You may want to use a password manager to generate and store those that are hard to remember. Enable multifactor authentication (MFA) — also known as two-factor authentication (2FA) — which refers to requiring authentication using two or more factors, wherever possible for an extra layer of security.
  • Encrypt your data: Encryption can protect your data if your device is lost or stolen. Check if the devices you’re taking with you have encryption options and enable before you travel.

Before Departing, Back Up Your Data

In case your device is lost, stolen, or compromised while away from home, ensure you have backups of important data stored securely. Consider cloud storage services or external hard drives to backup photos, documents, and other valuable information.”

Be Cautious with Public Wi-Fi

  • Think twice before using: While it’s tempting to connect to free Wi-Fi hotspots at airports, cafes, and hotels, these networks can be a haven for hackers. Avoid accessing your personal, sensitive information, such as banking or emails, over public Wi-Fi. If you must use it, consider a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection.
  • Disable auto-connect Wi-Fi settings: Is your phone, tablet, or PC automatically connecting to public Wi-Fi? If yes, turn the setting off. Not sure? Check this setting in each device that you’ll have with you to see if you need to turn it off.

Verify Network Legitimacy

Today’s threat actors can easily whip up fake Wi-Fi networks that mimic legitimate ones. Always ensure you confirm the network name with the establishment offering it before connecting. If it’s not password protected, don’t use the network.

Enjoy Fishing, Be Wary of Phishing

Coming home with a photo of your amazing catch while you’re fishing is fun. Falling for a phishing attack while you’re on vacation can ruin the whole trip. Travelers are prime targets for phishing scams, especially through email. Be skeptical of unsolicited emails, particularly those offering travel deals or requiring urgent action. Always verify the source before you click on a link or download an attachment.

Stay Vigilant About Physical Security

  • Keep devices close: Treat your devices like valuable items. Don’t leave them unattended in public places, even for a minute. And if your hotel or vacation home has safes, use them to secure your devices when you’re not in your room.
  • Use tracking software: Install tracking software on your devices or use the tracking feature that is part of your operating system (OS). If your devices are lost or stolen, this is a prime method for finding it.

Hopefully, your summer vacation is only filled with good memories and not dealing with the long-term fallout of a cyberattack. By following these cybersecurity travel tips, you can reduce your risk and enjoy a worry-free vacation. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and prioritize your cyber safety as much as you do your physical safety.

And once you’re back home, if you’re interested in learning more about cybersecurity, check out our blog or follow us on LinkedIn.

Heather Wiederhoeft
About the Author
Heather Wiederhoeft
Heather McLean Wiederhoeft is the Senior Content and Social Media Creator for Fortra’s Alert Logic. An accomplished strategic communicator, she brings more than 30 years’ experience in content creation, marketing communications, public relations, and publication development to the team.

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