At this time last year, many of us are thinking about taking a break. As you prepare your packing list, take a minute to add one more crucial item that you simply can’t leave home without: data security.
According to experts, holidays and long weekends are prime times for threat actors to execute all kinds of malware attacks—everything from ransomware to social engineering, phishing, and beyond. That’s because long weekends and holidays give hackers more time to corrupt files and devices before anyone can respond, or even notice. Here are some tips to help keep your personal and professional data safe as you plan your next getaway.
1. “Password Protected”
Be sure your mobile devices are safe and secure. Disable lock screen notifications and enable multi-factor authentication so that you—and only you!—have access to your data. You can also apply these authentication measures to your more sensitive accounts, like banking and travel booking websites. If you must bring work on the road, consider asking your organization to provide a loaner device for travel, especially if you’re concerned about data security. Don’t leave home without outfitting your devices with remote-wipe features. That way, if you do bring your personal device, you’ll have a backup plan in case it’s stolen or compromised.
2. “You Are an Island”
It may take a few extra steps, but bringing backup power supplies for your batteries and devices means you can depend on yourself, not your surroundings, to keep your devices going. This also means your belongings are always close to you, instead of plugged into a wall at the airport or the quirky coffee shop you found. If you don’t have backup power supplies, research where you’re going and find secure spots along the way. Make sure all your devices are charged before you leave and only use them when necessary. Don’t connect your devices to other unknown devices, such as that free USB drive you picked up at the airport kiosk—this is an easy way for threat actors to send malware with you.
3. “The Public Eye”
While you’re traveling, you may be tempted to visit the business center of your hotel to check your emails or log in to the Wi-Fi connection at the bookstore you found. Most of these connections are generally secure but watch out for the word “public” when it comes to Wi-Fi channels. A public connection is always a security red flag, because everyone can access it, which means the wrong person in the business center at the right time could really sabotage your trip. Try to avoid these kinds of connections altogether or take the necessary steps and use extreme caution if you decide to use them.
4. “Home Sweet Home”
Traveling is great, but it also can be a rush to come home. You want to share your adventures and relive the journey you just experienced. Naturally, you want to get online and start posting pictures and seeing friends. But wait—now that you are home, take a few minutes to change those PINs and passwords. Even if you took good care of your data and devices while you were away, there’s a chance someone picked up your login information. It never hurts to give yourself that extra layer of protection.
Everyone deserves time away to relax and rejuvenate. Let’s use it as a launching pad for a day at the beach, not a data breach!