Norton by Symantec, recently released useful guidelines to help travelers protect their devices, data, and privacy while traveling.
Most vacationers are concerned with sunscreen, passports, and phone chargers, and cyber criminals are the farthest thing from their minds. In fact, 73 percent of traveling people don’t use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect their internet connection, and a whopping 92 percent potentially put their personal information at risk while using public Wi-Fi.
“In this connected world, it’s not enough to just lock up the house. It’s important to carefully protect everything from your identity and privacy to your data and devices while on vacation.”
Norton by Symantec recommends travelers follow the below guidelines to help protect their devices, data and privacy during vacation.
- Beware of online travel scams: Travel deals that appear too good to be true usually are. Use the official website of the hotel, airline or rental car company to book your reservations. If you’re not sure it’s the right website, call the company to verify.
- Don’t broadcast your plans or locations: Vacation photos are an advertisement you’re gone. First, update your privacy settings on social media to ensure only trusted friends and family can view your profile. Even then, avoid sharing specific dates. Never post pictures of itineraries or flight tickets. And remember: a harmless photo tagged to Antigua immediately alerts criminals to your empty home.
- Surf safely: It’s easy to let your guard down when entering the plush lobby of a beautiful resort. If possible, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi at hotels, airports, or in restaurants. Anyone sitting nearby with simple hacking equipment can see and grab the logins, passwords, and data you type or see on your screen while surfing the web. When you do connect, use a trusted VPN to connect to the Internet. This will help encrypt all communication so attackers can’t view it.
- Leave Bluetooth behind: Bluetooth is great in the car or at home, where it’s safe to communicate with other electronic devices. However, most of us forget to turn Bluetooth off when in public places, especially on vacation. With Bluetooth connectivity left open, anyone sitting in a hotel lobby or nearby coffee shop can potentially pick up that signal and gain access to your phone. It happens suddenly and without your knowledge. So say goodbye to Bluetooth while on vacation.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card: You’re not held responsible for unauthorized credit card purchases (beyond a nominal fee in some cases), but a thief armed with your stolen debit card information could wipe out your entire bank balance, at least until an investigation is completed. Even better, consider using an online or mobile payment service such as Apple Pay, Android Pay or PayPal.
- Remain vigilant when it comes to your credit cards: Before you go on vacation, alert your credit card companies to your travel plans and monitor your accounts daily for suspicious activity. During your trip, only use the credit cards and IDs that are absolutely necessary and secure your devices in the hotel safe. In addition to pick pocketing, thieves target travelers via card skimmers at gas pumps and ATMs. Skimmers are on the rise, stealing credit card or debit card information from unknowing travelers. Often, inspecting an ATM or gas station pump will not help you identify the skimmers that are placed inside the terminals. With gas stations, many times the skimmer is inside the pump making it virtually impossible to see.