Tech Tip: Don’t Make These Cybersecurity Mistakes Before Going on Vacation
By August 1, 2022 0 708•
Consider a Hotspot Over Public Wi-Fi
Depending on your carrier, it might cost a little more, but it’s worth it. If you’re bringing a laptop or tablet or any other device that connects to Wi-Fi, but you know you’ll have cell service, using your smartphone as a hotspot will be so much safer than connecting to the Wi-Fi in a hotel, campground, or coffee shop. Plus, it’s guaranteed to work (provided you have decent cell service).
If You Have to Connect to Public Wi-Fi, Do So Conservatively
Let’s say you need to look up directions or pull up your flight itinerary, and you just need to connect to Wi-Fi in order to do it. Don’t use that opportunity to check your email, log into social media, or pass all sorts of other sensitive information across the network. The longer you’re connected, the more risk there is that your data will be stolen.
Better yet, ensure that you have a secure VPN to tunnel into your work network if you need to access work-related information. This is something that all businesses should be able to provide these days, especially if they survived having workers work from home during the pandemic.
Don’t Overshare on Social Media
If you aren’t going to be home, who is going to watch over your house?
Don’t expect those automated outdoor lights to do the heavy lifting for your home security either. We’re not saying that your week-long absence is going to result in a break-in, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t advertise that your home will be vacant for the next week on social media.
Home burglary isn’t even the biggest security issue here, either. If someone can see that you’re spending two weeks in the Poconos, they can easily craft up some fiction about how you lost your wallet and need the help of a random Facebook friend to wire you the funds to come home. Social media accounts like Facebook and LinkedIn are hacked all the time, and it’s possible that a cybercriminal might just be waiting for a good time to scam your innocent friends into “helping” you out by begging for gift cards.
Make Sure Your Travel Accounts are Secure
We often end up making a lot of new accounts when traveling, whether it be with an airline we’re flying for the first time, or a ride-sharing service, a hotel website, and more.
Don’t get lax about your personal information. Make sure you always use strong, unique passwords for these accounts, and document them securely (preferably in your password manager, not your browser). When possible, it helps to do some of this ahead while you’re planning your vacation, as you probably won’t want to mess around with it while checking in or ordering a ride from the cocktail bar to the beach.
Take Us With You!
If you’re planning on going on vacation, we hope you enjoy it! It’s been a rough couple of years for lots of us, and we bet you deserve the much-needed R&R!
If we manage the IT for your business for you, know that we’ll keep everything running smoothly for you while you are gone!
Alan Edwards, CISM, is chief information officer at Computerware, Inc., in Vienna, Virginia.