Earthquake and Tsunami Advice
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From natural disasters to crime, there are many risks associated with travel. One rarely mentioned travel risk that is more relevant today than ever is cyber security. Cyber security is becoming increasingly important as technology advances. Luckily, as criminals get smarter, so do companies that develop safeguards to protect your information. Cyber security can be an intimidating topic for many who don’t have an advanced technical background, so here are 5 easy cyber security tips to follow when traveling.
Watch Out For Booking Scams
The risk of traveling starts before you’ve even left your house! Be careful when booking hotels and travel. Every year, 15 million hotel reservations are made on bogus third-party booking sites. That adds up to $1.3 billion dollars a year. Make sure that when choosing a booking site, the URL starts with “HTTPS” not just “HTTP” to ensure the site is encrypted. Try to book directly on the hotel or airline site. If you decide to use a third-party booking site, use a reputable brand. Be sure to use a credit card instead of a debit card when you are booking online in case the site is phony. Most credit card companies offer fraud protection but a debit card would be giving scammers direct access to your bank account. It’s always helpful to call the company after booking to confirm your reservation.
Back Up Devices
Be sure to back up all devices on an external hard drive or a computer at home that is secure. Once backed up, remove any sensitive files from your devices like tax returns, bank statements, or mortgage documents. In case these devices are misplaced, you do not want this information falling into the wrong hands, or losing this information forever. Backing up devices should become a regular safe practice even when not travelling.
Be Careful With Public WiFi
While travelling, the likelihood that you will need to use your phone to check emails and your bank accounts, or access personal information is very high. While doing so, it is important to remember that “free” WiFi might not be as secure as you’d like it to be. Free WiFi in airports, hotels and cities are usually unsecured, allowing eavesdroppers to intercept your online activity and view everything you do. This is a major risk to your personal information. Using a virtual private network, or VPN, allows you to use any WiFi network and encrypt your activity as well as location which helps keep you safe from eavesdroppers. Another way to keep off public WiFi is to disable auto-connectivity so you are not unknowingly connected to an unsecured network.
Update Operating Systems
Updating your operating systems fixes bugs and fills holes that scammers may be able to take advantage of. This also goes for apps on your phone, especially any banking apps.
Much like WiFi connectivity, be sure to disable Bluetooth auto-connectivity. Bluetooth, though seemingly harmless, can be an avenue through which nearby scammers can access your device without you knowing. Disabling it is an easy way to avoid a major risk.
These simple tips will help ensure that your travels are memorable and worry-free. The hassle to utilise these tips is much less than the hassle to recover from identity theft. It’s easy and it’s worth it!