Are you packing up for the holidays? Have you stopped and thought about how your travel decisions could affect your company and its data?
When you are traveling, you take your connected devices with you as well. The increased access to gadgets and unprecedented connectivity makes the organizational data vulnerable to cyber-attacks more than ever.
Keep in mind, its not just your personal data that is at risk. The organization that you work in – it’s data is susceptible to breach as well. You must take extra care to avoid breaches and thefts especially when you are traveling. Here are a few tips that you can stick to for safeguarding your company’s data on your trip:
1: Don’t Use The Airport Charging Stations
The USB ports at airport charging stations are very convenient but they can put your data at risk. Hackers target charging ports for installing malware and stealing customer data and the device owner doesn’t even know what’s happening. This type of attack is known as juice jacking.
Data cannot be transferred via a power adapter but you could be using an unfamiliar cable for charging your device. Someone else’s cord could pose a threat to your data. It’s best to avoid public USB ports and use your own cables. Don’t even share your cable with others.
2: Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi are cool and being a traveler, you have no choice but use an open network. You can’t just Google “Internet providers for my location” and sign up for one just like that. Hence, open Wi-Fi can be a blessing at times. Unfortunately, these connections allow cybercriminals to steal information from your devices and install malware.
Hackers have a bunch of attacks under their sleeves which they launch into devices connected to a public network. If you must use public Wi-Fi, these tips will protect you:
- Use a VPN to block cybercriminals from getting access to your data via a public network.
- Use personal Wi-Fi hotspots. They are also known as pucks. These small devices are portable and perfect for creating a private connection.
- Apply multi-factor authentication to access the network. This prevents bad actors from gaining access to your login info. The additional layers of authentication will protect you.
3: Watch Out for Rewards Programs
Hotels and airline companies bombard customers with loyalty programs and points to lure them. It’s great that all your information is saved in your profile for quick and easy checkout. This doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk.
You will be surprised to know that the transport industry is the 2nd most attacked industry. It’s easy to access sensitive customer information starting from their credit card details to passport numbers. Similarly, hotels have a ton of sensitive financial information too.
4: Use Ridesharing Apps with Care
Some travelers including myself like to use ridesharing apps like Lyft and Uber instead of public transportation. Tech giants like these have already been attacked by cybercriminals. Uber lost the personal data of millions of customers in 2017. This included their names, addresses, and mobile phone number.
I am not discouraging you from using these apps but stay on the safe side and check the privacy statements before using them. Learn how they store customer data. If you are paying for the ride through your company’s card, delete the information from the app after your ride is complete. Also, once your ride is over, don’t forget to turn off the location services.
5: Turn off the Location Services
I am sure you use your smartphone to get real-time updates about traffic and routes. You might have to pay a huge price by keeping the location services on. Some ISPs have previously sold location data of their customers to a third party. Make sure your provider isn’t doing that.
When I am traveling, I normally keep the location services off. I use optimum internet packages and fortunately, my provider observes strict regulations when it comes to protecting customer data. Therefore, I don’t have to worry about that.
6: Other Tips to Remember
Here are some measures that could protect yours and the company’s data:
- Backup everything before you sit on that plane. These few minutes could save you from big trouble.
- Make sure your smartphone has the most updated OS.
- It’s nice to carry Bluetooth earbuds but they could open others to connect to your device. It’s recommended to disable your device’s Bluetooth, especially in crowded spaces.
- Never write passwords on paper. Use password management software instead.
Lastly, keep your eyes and mind open. Be mindful of your surroundings. Your company has entrusted you with its information and device. Respect that.