Stay cyber safe while travelling

Cybersecurity should not be only limited to your home or office. It is just as important to practice safe online behaviour and to secure mobile devices when we travel as well. The more we travel and access the internet while away, the more cyber risks we take. In order to stay as safe possible, follow these simple steps while travelling:

Before you travel

Update your mobile software: Think about your mobile device in the same way that you think about your personal computer. It is important to keep your operating system and applications updated as this will improve your device’s ability to defend against malware.

Install anti-virus software: Install anti-virus software on all your mobile devices and keep it up to date for maximum protection.

Back up your information: Back up your contacts, photos, videos and other mobile device data to another device or use a cloud storage service provider to make sure that data is always safe.

Keep your device locked: Use the auto lock setting on your device so that the screen locks automatically when not in use. Even if you step away for a few minutes, that is enough time for someone to steal or manipulate your information.

Know your company procedures: Understand your company’s information security policies and procedures. Make sure you know who to contact in an emergency.

While you are there

Think before you connect: Try to avoid connecting to any public wi-fi, such as in airports, hotel, train/bus station or cafe. Do not conduct sensitive activities such as online shopping, banking or confidential work using a public wireless network. Only use sites that are secure meaning that they begin with “https://” when doing online shopping or banking.

Think before you click: Exercise caution when downloading or clicking on any unknown links. Delete emails that are suspicious or are from a source that you do not recognize. Review and understand the details of any application before you install on your device.

Stop auto connecting: Disable remote connecting and switch off your Bluetooth access when not in use. Bluetooth enables your device to connect wirelessly with other devices, such as headphones or vehicle entertainment systems. A Bluetooth connection is never secure.

Guard your mobile device: Keep your mobile devices with you at all times. Do not leave them unattended in a public place such as the hotel lobby table whilst you order a coffee. Keep your devices secured in taxis, at airports, and on airplanes. If you must leave it behind, always lock it securely in the hotel safe.

Common threats while travelling

Physical theft of devices: Thieves often target travellers. Meal times are optimum times for thieves to check hotel rooms for unattended laptops and devices. If you are attending a conference or a trade show, be especially wary – these venues offer thieves a wider selection of devices that are likely to contain sensitive information.

Unsecured wireless networks: Avoid Hotel business centres, libraries and cyber cafes provide computers that anyone can use as travellers cannot trust that these computers are secure. They may not be running the latest operating systems or have updated antivirus software. Cyber criminals may infect these machines with malicious viruses or install malicious software, so if it is possible avoid their usage and minimise sensitive activities like online shopping, checking emails and banking.

Publicly accessible computers: Hotel business centres, libraries and cyber cafes provide computers that anyone can use. Apart from the typical public wireless networks found at airports, restaurants, and hotels, they are increasingly becoming more available in more public spaces like parks and airplanes. Whilst these networks provide great convenience, they are unsecure and allow the possibility for cyber criminals to access your internet enabled devices.

What to do if you are compromised

Change your passwords immediately. This will help prevent criminals from accessing your emails and your sensitive information.

Disable your device if possible and remotely wipe data from it. Track it and keep all relevant parties informed such as the police and your IT department.

Inform your bank and accounts departments if you think banking/financial information may be compromised. Discuss with any third parties who could be affected by your data compromise.