Cyber security for travelers

Vacation season is in front of us. Millions of people around the world are getting excited about visiting friends and family or discovering new destinations. They make plans about luggage, clothing, tickets, schedules, etc. But there is one more aspect which is becoming more and more crucial for problem-free trips. Majority of tourists keep in touch with friends and coworkers on daily basis by using their laptops and mobile devices. We live in an age where internet access is all around us: in coffee shops, cars, hotels and even during flights. It is very convenient, but there are drawbacks too. Hackers and thieves have taken advantage of the technology progress. As a result, millions of people become victims because they don’t bother protecting themselves from robbers 2.0.
According to recent research data, virus attacks on Android devices have grown 1200% in 2012 comparing to the last quarter of 2011. There were 83 million samples of malware for Windows PC detected during just three month of this year. Recent discovery of Flashback Trojan which infected more than 650,000 Mac computers has shown that Apple users can not feel safe either.
“Bad guys” are using the tourist season already. Millions of people have received e-mails with hotel booking reservations. But those messages were fake confirmations containing phishing codes. FBI posted an alert for international travelers warning them about possible cyber threats.
So what can you do in order to protect yourself? Here are several simple to implement steps which improve significantly your line of cyber defense.
Before the trip:
1,Backup all important data on your computer and mobile devices,
2,Make sure your anti-virus programs are running and up to date,
3,Update software, if needed,
4,Make sure that the firewall on your computer is on,
5,Disable File & Folder Sharing In Windows,
6,Encrypt all sensitive data on your computer, phone and USB drive,
7,Setup free or paid Virtual Private Network (VNP) for your Internet connections,
8,Make sure you password protect access to your devices,
9,Specifically for mobile devices – enable screen locker and tracing applications to decrease the damage in case of your phone being lost or stolen.
During the trip:
1,Avoid installing new software; if you have to, check the digital certificate and reputation of the provider and make all installations directly from their website. Beware of bogus anti-virus programs,
2,Remember that you can infect your computer by synchronizing it with your smartphone, so treat the mobile device with the same level of security,
3,Use HTTPS (secure) connections whenever it’s possible,
4,Try not to access your sensitive data online (for example your bank account) and remember ALWAYS to log off when using computers in public places. Remember that many websites have “remember me” or “stay logged in” default settings. You need to make an additional step to change it.
As you can see, most of the steps are to be done prior to your trip. While traveling, a person mostly should use common sense to stay away from problems. It would help to keep the trip more enjoyable and return back home less stressful. Identity theft, data stealing, online banking crime, cyber espionage will continue to grow. But if you be proactive and make cyber security your top priority, the odds of staying safe being on the road are on your side. Have a great vacation!

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