Do you have vacation plans? Everybody, and their Mother, these days bring either their phones, tablets or computers - if not all of them - with them on vacation. Surveys estimate over 60% of Americans even work on vacation using their technology. If you plan to connect with the office or do personal financial business during your vacation fun, review these cyber security measures to help protect your information.
Top 12 Tips for Cyber Secure Traveling
- Leave it behind – do not even take your laptop or smartphone if possible. Consider using temporary devices. Purchase a temporary smartphone or tablet. Use different passwords than on your normal devices. (This is hassel for most people but not a bad idea if you are leaving the country. It is safer.)
- If you really have to connect with the office or personal financial information on your device, have the latest anti-virus software and operating system updates on your device.
- Encrypt sensitive data. Leave as much data off your device as you can. Temporary devices for travel only make it easy to load what you need and encrypt the data that you have to take. (Have your IT Professional to assist you with this one. The will know what “encrypt” means and how to do it. Sorry – there will most likely be a cost to this step.)
- Do not use public Wi-Fi spots as much a possible. Many hackers use public spots to hack into devices. Consider a Mi-Fi. (Your own personal Hot Spot) Getting a portable personal Wi-Fi gadget and data time from a wireless carrier is possible and most offer a choice of plans. Make sure you know if their covers where you are vacationing.
- Don’t use hotel or other public computers. Results of several tests show that these computers frequently have malware on them. You have no idea who used the device before you and it may have added malware.
- Use your cell service instead of Wi-Fi if possible. It is safer than Wi-Fi connections. When you are checking the weather or what movie is showing at the closest Theater – Wi-Fi is OK. However, Public Wi-Fi is not a good idea when you are checking your bank account or purchasing something on the internet. Beware.
- Don’t leave devices in the hotel when you go to dinner or that movie. Take them with you or lock them in a hotel safe. If a criminal gains access to your hotel room, he can add malware in a minute and leave the device in place.
- Turn your Bluetooth device off when not in use (good idea even when you are not traveling). Some devices allow for automatic connection, which allows other Bluetooth devices to connect to your device without you knowing it.
- Charge your devices directly with a connection to an outlet. Beware of Charging Stations. Do not risk transferring malware from an unknown charging station or a computer. Be sure to pack those adapters.
- Turn off auto location and check-in applications. Do not make it easy for criminals to identify where you are.
- Taking pictures is such a fabulous way to remember your fun and experience. However, do not post your pictures until you return home (or to a private site). Help prevent any lurking criminals from easily tracking you.
- Change your passwords when you return from your vacation – every time. If someone did access your devices while you were on vacation, reduce the potential for later damage by changing passwords.
Relax and enjoy your time away from the office. Being cyber safe can help reduce your worries.
These tips are from the National Cybersecurity Institute / Carolyn Schrader
From Wipfli CPAs and Consultants
EMV Chip Credit Cards
Whenever possible, use the chip reader instead of the magnetic strip reader at the payment terminal so your credit card information cannot be compromised by a simple magnetic card skimmer or by malware installed on the point-of-sale (PoS) terminal. The chip on your credit card is called an EMV chip. This chip generates a single-use code after authenticating with the payment terminal, instead of a magnetic strip.
The big push for EMV was caused by massive PoS data breaches in which credit card information was stolen from payment terminals, which stored the credit card data unencrypted in memory while processing. This allowed malware on the PoS to steal all credit card accounts that used the payment terminals which were infected.
Much like using a debit card at a payment terminal, you may soon need to enter a personal identification number (PIN) for your chip transactions with your chip-enabled credit cards. This is where the term “chip and PIN” comes from, and it has been rolled out fully in Europe and Canada. This will help reduce the ability of a thief to use your credit card at EMV-enabled terminals without knowledge of your PIN. But for now, most United States card issuers are accepting chip and signature for payment authorization.
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Register now at www.ssbfergus.com/verifiedbyvisa or the next time you shop at a participating online merchant.