Travel during a pandemic is reason enough to be overly cautious. Wearing a mask, providing proof of vaccination, and maintaining safe social distancing are more than enough to manage.
But don’t let this additional stress and caution distract you from the other persistent and ongoing threat that all travelers must guard against – Cyberattacks.
October 2021 represents the 18th year of Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has partnered with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) to provide a wide range of resources to help prepare Americans and raise awareness regarding the threat.
With business travel ramping up again over the last several months, there is no better time to discuss how to be cyber-safe and protect yourself from cyberattacks.
Are you ready for travel?
Before you even leave for the road, there are many essential precautions every traveler can take that will help ensure a cyber-safe passage. Most of these precautions should be a part of your ongoing cyber-defense strategy.
First, back up your data. Your computer of choice can crash at any moment for many reasons, so redundancy is of the utmost importance.
Affordable external hard drives with abundant storage space are commonplace these days. And cloud space is available everywhere you look. Take advantage of both tools to ensure your valuable data is recoverable when needed.
Many software updates are specifically related to cybersecurity. So ensure your software is always up to date. When you consider that software exists on your desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, watch, gaming device, and more, that’s a lot to secure.
It is just as important to ensure the security software for each device is up to date and enabled where possible. Set each device to auto-update software when available to help keep up with both security and efficiency.
In addition to updating security software, also take advantage of multi-factor authentication to maximize your login protection. Multi-factor authentication will ensure your login processes are as secure as possible.
However, you will want to establish these login protections before travel. Configuring security protocols is never something to be done during your trip, and particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks
Be Cyber-Safe On The Road
The CISA provides some particular measures to protect against cyberattacks during your travels. The central theme of many suggestions is to take the time to know and trust the network you are using.
Do not trust your auto-connect systems when attempting to access wireless networks. Then make double sure that the networks you connect with are trustworthy. When possible, avoid sensitive online transactions such as banking, paying bills, etc., when on the road.
As mentioned previously, data backup is critical. If you must travel with any external storage devices, never leave them unattended. They contain many avenues for cyberattack and exploitation and must be secured.
Don’t forget that your smartphone is also a storage device and is prey to the same vulnerabilities.
Do not let your guard down when it comes to phishing tactics that use false links and attachments to attack your information. Limit their means to fool you into trusting the phishing scam by limiting the amount of information you share on social media. Social media is a wasteland of easily surrendered information through clever quizzes designed to coax out your vital details.
The more vital details shared online result in more “breadcrumbs” for cybercriminals to follow and initiate a host of attacks.
The more someone knows about you, the more convincingly they can impersonate someone you know or an organization you trust enough to provide vital details that make you vulnerable to cyberattack.
Don’t share important information with social media. And do not broadcast where you are traveling or that you are traveling at all.
Disconnect your Bluetooth while on the road and stick to secure networks only. Bluetooth connections are passageways for cyberattacks directed at your phone, specifically, and should be disabled.
Avoid free internet as well. If it is your only option, confirm you are using the correct wi-fi and not one created by hackers. As stated above, if you are accessing free wi-fi, avoid using personal and sensitive data.
Social distancing helps prevent prying eyes from spying while you work. But adding a good privacy screen to your security arsenal is always a good idea. Privacy screens are available across the gamut of devices you might use while on the road. So protect your phone, tablets, and laptops when appropriate.
Finally, common sense is often your best approach when it comes to being cyber-safe and protecting yourself from cyberattacks. Visit the CISA site regularly to stay informed on the latest developments in cyberattacks and defense. And check out our recent article on how to protect your business from cyberattacks.