As the summer comes, so will the travel. Are you going anywhere special over the summer months? We chatted with Marsha Kimes, Information Security Analyst, about how to keep yourself secure while traveling. 

“Vacations are exciting to plan and prepare for, a time to get away and leave the workload behind, sit back, relax and restore. This summer, whether it is a road trip, flight destination or one of my favorites, a staycation, consider taking these security tips into consideration. While we might be in vacation mode, criminals are always at work,” said Kimes. 

Here are the top tips to consider before you hit the road (or air):  

  1. Book travel from secure websites. When booking reservations, including flights, car rentals, hotels and tours, make sure you’re using a secure and reputable site. It’s recommended that you book travel through well-known sites you recognize or can find solid information about online. Additionally, any site that doesn’t have a secure checkout page should be avoided.
  2. Before you hit the road make sure that you have updated your devices – smartphones, tablets, laptops. Updates often include security updates. Vulnerabilities of outdated software is a cybercriminal’s fast pass to your information.  Make sure that your first line of defense is ready before you leave.
  3. Secure your home network before you leave – this could be simply turning off your router. Or, if you have things in your home that are dependent on internet connection make sure that your router has a strong password.
  4. Enable passcodes/PIN on mobile devices before leaving. Update your password protections and other layers of security on mobile devices like phone, tablets and laptops.  
  5. Backup your data – before you leave backup your data to a hard drive or cloud service.  If your device is lost or stolen you will still have access to your information like important files and photos.
  6. Turn off automatic Bluetooth connectivity. Know what you are connecting to before you do.
  7. Only use password-protected Wi-Fi networks. Use safe browsing habits when connected to public Wi-Fi or hotspots. On open connections, hackers could be using the same connection to intercept the information you’re sending. If absolutely necessary, use the hotel’s password protected connection or your phone’s data plan when checking banking information or other sensitive sites.
  8. Use a VPN. A VPN protects your identity even if you are using public or shared Wi-Fi, and your data will be kept private from any prying internet eyes.
  9. Check sensitive accounts regularly. Reviewing your accounts will give you awareness if something looks off and prompt you to check on it right away.
  10. Don’t overshare on social media. Consider posting updates about your trip after you return. Criminals may see that you are away from home based on social media content and attempt to steal from your home! If you also share too many details about where you are on your trip, some scammers may attempt to contact your family and friends with a variety of scam tactics. Additionally, consider setting your social media accounts to only allow friends to view your posts and content.

Happy travels – get out there and explore this summer!