Cyber Security Tips For Business Travelers

Cybersecurity Tips For Business Travelers

Get ready to travel with these top cyber security tips.

Laptop ☑
Phone ☑
Chargers ☑
Business cards ☑
Toothbrush ☑
Back up files…?
Update Software…?

When you’re traveling, whether for business or pleasure, chances are you’ll be connecting to unknown networks. That is, unless you’re going on a digital detox and will be spending all your time away in desert yurt or trekking high up in the mountains… Of course, these scenarios are highly improbable in the case of business travel.

Connecting to unknown networks puts you at increased risk of exposure to cyber threats. Business travelers in particular are vulnerable as they often carry sensitive business and personal data on their devices, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

With the Ascension Global Technology team heading to Las Vegas for the inaugural Zscaler Live Cloud Summit, we thought it timely to share our top tips for staying cyber secure while traveling on business. These tips are equally applicable to travelers going on vacation. You simply cannot be too cautious when it comes to securing your devices, be it while at home or away.

Cybersecurity Travel Checklist

In addition to the essential personal and business items to pack, there are a number of things you can do – both prior to leaving, at your destination, and when you get home – to help protect your devices, data and personal information. Here are some simple best practices to keep you and your information safe and secure from prying eyes.

Things To Do Before You Go

Here are some recommended actions to take before you leave home to help you stay cyber secure on the road.

Cybersecurity Tip#1: Update your software

Just like it is good practice to keep your home and work computer software up to date, it’s important to update your mobile device apps and operating system software updated. Updating to the latest software is critical as they often include patches to security holes which can help to improve your device’s ability to defend against threats, including malware and ransomware. This also includes ensuring your antivirus software is up-to-date.

Cybersecurity Tip#2: Back up your information

It’s a good idea to back up all your files, contacts, photos, videos and other mobile device data with another device or cloud service. You never know what may happen when you are on the road. Computers can get stolen, hacked or damaged.

Cybersecurity Tip#3: Install Find My Phone/Device Apps

It pays to enable “Find my iPhone” to help you locate your device if your iPhone, Mac or iPad should be misplaced, lost or stolen. For Android users, has a native “Find My Device” feature called “Android Device Manager” that can pinpoint the exact location of your phone or tablet. If your device has been stolen, you can also remotely lock it and reset the password or erase its data.

Remove sensitive data

Remove unnecessary sensitive information from your computer and phone. There’s really no reason to carry around all of your personal financial information, or other sensitive business information if you will not need to use it while traveling.

Use strong PINs and passwords

Whether at home or on the road, it is always a good policy to create and use strong, unique passwords. Consider changing passwords before you leave.

Auto-Lock Your Devices

Most likely you already use biometrics (fingerprint ID or face ID) or a pin code to unlock your phone or laptop. Just review your device security settings and ensure that your devices automatically lock when you are not using them. Even if you only step away for a few minutes, that is enough time for someone access and steal your information. Put your device on auto-lock after thirty seconds of inactivity or other short time-frame you are comfortable with.

Disable remote connectivity and Bluetooth

Some devices will automatically seek out and connect to available wireless networks. Bluetooth enables your device to connect wirelessly with other devices. Be sure to disable these features so that you only connect to wireless and Bluetooth networks when you want to and not to any random device that happens to be close-by.

Virtual Private Network

It is highly recommended that you use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect your communication to ensure that everything transaction you make over the internet, from sending emails to online shopping and conducting financial transactions are secured.

End Point Protection

Be sure that your laptop, tablet and phone are secured with end-point protection.

Enable 2FA

Enabling two-factor authentication is recommended for access to your accounts, including email and social media accounts.

At Your Destination

While on your travels it pays to take extra precautions to practice safe online behavior and secure your internet-enabled mobile devices. Combat common cybersecurity threats while traveling by taking these precautions.

Be Wary When Connecting To Unsecured Wireless Networks

While public wireless networks allow you to connect your BYO device to the internet, these networks tend to be unsecure and can provide a gateway for cyber criminals to access your devices. Prior to connecting your phone or laptop to public wireless hotspot, be sure to confirm the name of the wi-fi network and login details with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. Regardless of which public wireless hotspot you are using – at the airport, on a plane, train/bus station, in a hotel, café or restaurant, public park or library – avoid conducting sensitive activities, such as online shopping, banking, or sensitive work.

Avoid Public Computers

You will most likely be connecting to the internet using your own device, but there may be rare circumstances where you may use public equipment and services (e.g., phones, computers and fax machines). If using public computers, it is best not to access your bank account, shop online, or engage in other sensitive communications as they are not guaranteed to be secure. Public computers may not be running the latest operating systems or have updated antivirus software. They may be infected with viruses or malicious software.

Think Before You Click on Attachments and Links

Whether you’re at home or away, always be cautious about downloading or clicking on any unknown links. Be on the lookout for phishing scams. Unless you know for sure who is sending the email and are expecting an attachment or link, do not download the attachment or click on the link. Delete emails that are suspicious or are from unknown sources.

Download only from trusted sites or persons and pay extra attention to any mis-spellings in emails and in attachment titles, links or URLs.  It is good practice to pay attention to the subtle details. Before you download and install any applications, make sure you review and understand the details of the application.

Stay Vigilant – Watch Your Devices

While you are traveling, be extra vigilant and always keep an eye on your valuables to prevent theft and unauthorized access or loss of sensitive information. Be sure to secure all your valuables and guard your phone, laptop and USBs or external storage devices as you would your wallet and credit cards. Don’t be tempted to leave your items unattended in a public place even if you may think it is safe to do so.

Use Privacy Screens

You might want to consider putting a privacy screen on your laptop or phone to stop prying eyes, whether it’s the person sitting next to you on the plane or the person looking over your shoulder at the conference. This is especially important when you are entering passwords.

When You Get Home

Change Your Passwords

When you return home from your travels it is a good idea to change all your passwords, just to be on the safe side.

 

Be sure to stay secure on your travels by taking the above recommended actions and precautions (aka cyber security travel preparation checklist). You should be well-prepared for your travels and will go a long way to staying cyber secure while you are away on business (or vacation).

Got questions about any of the above cybersecurity travel tips? Contact Ascension Global Technology for more information.

Have we missed anything? If you have any other cybersecurity travel tips or recommendations you think should be added to the list, let us know.

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