Cyberhood Watch >

Masks are coming off, holiday travel is opening up, and cyber criminals are ready to seize your personal information and your money as you try to escape. So, while you make your summer vacation plans, be sure you are cyber-safe while traveling and continue to stay protected after you return.

In this article

Identity theft and cybercrime continue to rise at epidemic levels, and with a care-free summer of travel and vacations coming, thieves have come up with new schemes and employed a series of cyber-attacks that are now being unleashed upon the unsuspecting public. Here are some of the most important things you can do to stay cyber-safe when you leave home and hit the road.

Tips for mobile devices

When we travel most of us use our mobile phones for nearly everything, such as maps, staying in touch with family and friends, travel reservations, etc. It’s important to remember that your mobile devices constantly send and receive data, and the information on your mobile device is often more valuable than your suitcase or wallet.

Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself by securing your mobile devices:

  • Update your devices: One of the most effective ways to stay cyber-safe is to continuously update your devices. Most updates contain critical security fixes to keep you protected.
  • Use strong passcodes/passwords: Lock your device with a long passcode of 6 or 8 numbers, or better yet with facial recognition. On laptops, a minimum of 8-12 character password is recommended using uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Use caution with Bluetooth: Disable your Bluetooth networking while you are travelling to prevent unwanted connection attempts. When you pair your device with a car, your personal information is stored on the car’s system. It’s best to not pair devices with rental cars, but if you do, make sure you delete any stored data and remove your device from the rental car’s paired device list.
  • Keep track of your devices: Ensure that your devices are kept secure while in public places such as airports, hotels, and restaurants. Devices can be easily stolen, which allows access to very private and sensitive information.
  • Set up “find my phone”: Enabling this feature will allow you to find, remotely wipe data and/or disable the device if it gets into the wrong hands.
  • Make a backup before you go: It’s a smart idea to back up your device and your data files to another device or a cloud storage program service.

Tips when using public Wi-Fi

Using open public Wi-Fi at the airport, hotel or a cafe may be convenient, but public Wi-Fi networks and hotspots are not secure. Anyone using the same Wi-Fi connection can potentially see what you are doing on your device, making it an ideal location for hackers to find their next victim.

  • Ensure your device is set to ask permission before automatically connecting to a wireless network while you are traveling.
  • Only use secured Wi-Fi that requires login credentials and passwords.
  • Use the internet data from your cell phone. Create a Wi-Fi hotspot from your smartphone or consider using a trusted virtual private network (VPN) if you need a more secure connection.
  • Avoid logging into your personal accounts or making transactions while on public or hotel networks.

Tips for sharing on social media

Leave your travel plans off social media and consider posting photos and updates about your trip after your return. Opportunistic criminals that are tracking you on social media might see you are gone and attempt to break in and steal from your home.

Fraudsters may also attempt to contact your friends and family with various email and messaging scam tactics by posing as you and asking for emergency money to be able to get back home. Consider setting your social media accounts to only allow friends to view your posts and content.

Final tip

To reduce your worries and get some peace of mind while traveling, consider enrolling in a complete identity theft and cyber protection service such as iDefend. You should know who to contact on a moment’s notice if you ever have a cyber-safety problem.

Should you lose a wallet, your bank cards get hacked and money stolen, your phone or computer gets hacked, or your identity is stolen while you are away, it’s wise to have a world-class cyber protection service you can contact for immediate expert help. Otherwise, your wonderful vacation may end in a nightmare.

For help setting up your travel cyber-safety plan before you go, contact one of our friendly iDefend Advisors.