Planning your next big vacation or business trip? Whether you’re a once-a-year- vacationer, an adventure seeker, or a regular business traveler, it’s important to keep yourself – and your wallet – safe. Here are some ways to protect yourself while traveling.
Be careful when using public Wi-Fi
The laws and regulations that govern cyber security in other countries are typically not going to be the same as those found in the US. Free Wi-Fi access can be very appealing for business or leisure travelers, but it is also particularly vulnerable to security issues. Avoid unencrypted Wi-Fi networks; ask your hotel about its security protocol before connecting to the Web. Be extra cautious using Internet cafes and free Wi-Fi hotspots; if you must use them, avoid accessing personal accounts or sensitive data while connected to that network.
Most phones in the U.S. have a setting that allows a device to automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks as you pass through them on your day-to-day activities. While this is a nice feature when used at home, it’s not something you should allow while traveling abroad. Before you travel, change this setting so that your smartphone and laptop must be manually connected each time you wish to access the Web.
Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date
Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
Be aware of shoulder surfers
The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when typing in sensitive information. This is especially true in crowded places, such as an airport, hotel lobby, train station, or crowded city street.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is one of the best ways to protect against remote attacks such as phishing, credential misuse, and other attempts to take over your accounts. It is an additional layer of security to any type of login account, requiring extra information or a physical device to log in, in addition to your password.
At least one of the access controls in two-factor authentication should be a password of nine characters or longer. The second may be fingerprint, face, voice or pattern recognition, or verification through an authenticator app. Email is the most important service to secure because criminals can use email addresses to reset passwords on other sites. If your email account is compromised, it essentially gives attackers free rein to access all your other services — yet another reason to use two-factor authentication.
Use a Reloadable Travel Card
A reloadable travel card is a safe, secure alternative to traveler’s checks and cash while on vacation. It’s a great way to secure your travel funds as it's not connected to any of your other accounts! Unlike cash, which could be easily lost or stolen, you can cancel or block your card so that it can’t be used by anyone else.