Traveling? Don’t forget to pack good cyber habits

Vacationers and business travelers put their house lights on timers and their mail on hold when they travel away from home. But did you know that it’s just as important when taking a trip to think about cyber safety? That’s because many cyber criminals specifically target travelers.

Stolen “keys”

Sensitive data, such as login names and passwords, are especially valuable to criminals. One way criminals obtain such data is by installing a “keylogger” on public computers at hotels and Internet cafés. Keyloggers record every keystroke typed on a computer and then transmit that information to hackers.

Missed connection

Some cyber criminals specialize in “sniffing” the open Wi-Fi at airports and coffee shops, allowing them to collect and read all information sent over a wireless network. It’s remarkably easy to do.

Other criminals use a practice called “juice jacking,” where they rig a public charging kiosk to siphon information directly from your device when you plug into it.

Who’s the boss?

Social engineers use psychological manipulation to get people to perform actions or divulge confidential information. They often use information about a boss’ vacation to gain access to a system or commit financial fraud. Social engineers know they can reference the boss and the boss will not be reachable to verify whether he/she really did order the “repairman” or give instructions for a wire transfer. It pays to be suspicious.

When in Rome …

Different countries have different laws, which may allow government employees or law enforcement full access to your device without your knowledge or permission. Some countries are known to collect all data residing in that country, while others collect data from devices left in hotel rooms. This may be very important in countries that do not have the same freedom of speech as the United States. Some of these countries are known to jail tourists who posted negative comments online about the government or who posted pictures of criminal activities online, such as the use of alcohol or drugs.

Home alone

Social media posts of your vacation pictures keep your friends and family in touch, but they also tell criminals that you’re on vacation and your house is empty. Other older posts might contain pictures of your home, showing thieves what items of value are in the house or how to circumvent security systems. 

Luckily, with a little care, it’s possible to avoid all these problems. Follow these simple tips:

Easy tips to protect yourself

Easy tips to protect your devices


Do you have a security-related question or suggestion or want to comment on this article? Contact the IT security officer.

Learn more

Visit the iRiskAware page on CityTalk for more security-related tips and information.

Published Jul 28, 2015



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