How to Stay Cyber Secure When You Travel This Summer


Many people are planning to take vacations this summer, and while getting away is fun, having your identity stolen while you lay on a beach in Bora Bora blissfully unaware is decidedly less so. Careful prep before and during your vacation can help keep your holiday a fun one.

Booking the Trip

Vacation planning itself can be a security minefield. When planning your trip online, make sure the websites you are using to book are legitimate and secure because it can be easy for a scammer to spoof a URL to make it look like a well-known travel site. Always double-check the URL and make sure the site is verified to be HTTPS, Kaspersky Lab advises.

If you create an account with a site such as AirBnB, make sure you create a very secure password and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. You will have to provide a lot of personal information to book a flight or lodging and you don't want that information compromised.

Before You Go 

Leading up to your trip, you'll probably be busy planning fun activities and packing your suitcase but don't forget to prep your digital devices too.

Make sure all the devices you plan on bringing, such as smartphones and tablets, are password protected. You should also make sure the software on them is up to date. 

"Running the most recent versions of your mobile operating system, security software, apps and Web browsers is among the best defenses against malware, viruses and other online threats," writes the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team.

Take the time to also back up all the important data on your devices, such as photos and contact information, before you travel. If your phone is lost or stolen, those files could be gone forever.

During the Trip 

Once you have left home, there are a few more things to keep in mind to stay safe. Whether you're at the airport or in a hotel, never use public Wi-Fi. It can be tempting, especially when waiting for a flight, but public networks leave you incredibly vulnerable to hackers. 

"If you simply must check your bank balance or make an online purchase while you are traveling, turn off your device's Wi-Fi connection and use your mobile device's cellular data Internet connection instead of making the transaction over an unsecure Wi-Fi network," U.S.-CERT writes.

The agency also recommends travelers turn off Bluetooth when not in use, as criminals can also take advantage of that connection.

If you notice something wrong with any of your accounts, report it straight away. You might be inclined to wait to take care of it until you get back home, but immediately reporting an incident to your bank or credit card company can lessen its financial impact. Happy travels!