Cybersecurity might be one of the last things you want to worry about while enjoying your time off, but the increasing connectivity of the world means that protecting you networked devices is a constant fact of life. If you are one of the 95 percent of Americans that own a smartphone, the 53 percent that own a tablet, or your family is part of the third of US households that live with three or more mobile devices, then chances are that you will still be vulnerable during your vacation.
The primary factor in vacation cybersecurity is your mobile security as that is the vector with the most opportunities and the biggest attack surface to exploit while traveling. Many users do not often think twice about securing their smartphone (or tablet) and sacrifice protection for expediency, for both personal and business use.
There are a couple of key points to remember for staying safe and secure during your vacation:
- Be mindful of your network. Public Wi-Fi names that may seem innocuous can be spoofed by hackers, so that what you thought was your hotel’s connection is actually a gateway into your data
- Be careful when using public machines too. The Department of Homeland Security released an advisory in 2014 announcing that several investigations had found keylogger malware installed in the business centers of several hotels
- Check your location data. Repeated instances of hidden iPhone tracking programs have made public just how easy it is to build a map of your travels using your phone’s built-in GPS features. Even Android has gaps that could be exploited if someone is trying to locate you
- Keep your device up-to-date. Be extra mindful of what version of your OS is using, as occasionally the hardware does not keep up with the software and older systems will be missing security updates
- Watch what you post on social media. Hackers have been turning to social engineering to develop their attacks, and if they believe your credentials can grant access to critical data in some way, they will be following your movements.
Above all, remember that your Internet-connect machines can be a gateway to important data. You may not realize it, but every device you use brings at least some risk of an attacker trying to use it as an access point to personal or corporate information which they can exploit or sell.
Read through some of the ways employees do not realize they are leaving systems vulnerable to learn more about even the slightest mistakes can create network gaps.