The holiday season is once again upon us and for many that means lots of traveling. This also means, of course, that everyone’s technology will be traveling with them. Unfortunately, the holiday season is a special time for hackers as well, as many people’s devices are outside of their secure office and home networks. A recent CNET article provides some tips on keeping your devices secure while traveling during the holidays.
The first thing you’ll want to avoid is something you’ve probably seen at the airport, public charging stations. While the availability of these may be very tempting to use since you can charge your device that extra 5% before getting on a long flight, don’t do it. Hackers are able to use the shared USB port to infect your device with malware or even take control of your camera. To avoid this, it is best to bring your own USB cable and AC adapter to plug directly into wall outlets.
The second item to beware of is free public Wi-Fi. While it may be cheap and convenient to connect to the internet and save data, connecting to a public Wi-Fi network can be dangerous since hackers are usually lurking on the same network and intercepting your information. The best alternatives to using a public Wi-Fi are setting up a VPN, only visiting encrypted sites (HTTPS instead of HTTP) or eating the extra data charges because the extra money you pay will always be way cheaper than having your device compromised.
Finally, it would be in your best interest to turn off GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth altogether to prevent your device from automatically connecting to unsecure networks or devices owned by cybercriminals, and to encrypt your own device. Google and Apple both offer security setups that will encrypt your device and make it impossible for hackers to make sense of your data.
The main thing to remember is to avoid being tempted by convenience. Yes, it is tempting to save money and have your device set up to automatically connect to Wi-Fi. It is also tempting to take advantage of what seems to be a great resource in public charging stations. Remember, however, that the added convenience, extra battery, or saving a bit of money on data isn’t worth your privacy, and it could break your bank as well. You’re already spending lots of money over the holidays, so paying to fix a compromised device or buy a new one is an avoidable added expense. If you have any questions or concerns about traveling with your electronic devices don’t hesitate to give us a call at 703-790-0400 or visit us on our website at www.optfinity.com.