The Bulletin

Stay Secure While on Vacation

June 27, 2017 10:44 am

For many of us who are traveling over the summer break, it would be great to unplug and leave the phone at home, forgetting about email. As we all know, staying connected is a necessity–not only for work-related activities, but also sharing your experiences with others. Please take a minute to consider how you can secure your mobile device while traveling.

Here are some important tips:

  • Housekeeping
    • Remove unnecessary sensitive data from all devices you will be taking with you. This includes financial documents, stored passwords, etc. This way, if your device is hacked or stolen, you won’t be subject to losing important information.
    • Take the time to delete your browsing history and clear your cache. Be sure that your browsers don’t save passwords for you.
  • Change that password
    • It’s time to stop using the same password for all of your online accounts. Create new temporary passwords for any accounts that you will use while traveling.
  • Avoid unprotected Wi-Fi networks. Stick to password-protected hotel or store connections; however, proceed with caution. Hotels specialize in hospitality, not information security, so there’s no guarantee that the person who set up the Wi-Fi network turned on all the security features. Browsing online for restaurants or local tourist attractions will be low-risk activities, but it will be a good idea to avoid logging in to any sensitive online accounts.
  • Airports: Some airports offer free, time-limited Wi-Fi, but unless there’s a password to use the hotspot, it’s likely to be unsecured,  meaning your data is unprotected. Anybody on the same network could spy on your information. If you do decide to use free public Wi-Fi, be careful about the types of sites you visit. Don’t log in to any sites that require a password, because hackers could be using software kits to capture your passwords. Avoid any Websites that hold any of your sensitive information, like banking sites or transactional sites on which you store credit card information. Once in the air, the same recommendations apply.
  • Update your software and apps on your mobile devices before you travel. These updates offer fixes for newly discovered vulnerabilities.
  • For additional security tips visit “The Dos and Don’ts of Using Public Wi-Fi.”

- Patricia Kahn, PhD


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