Those who frequently travel for business may be at a heightened risk for security threats. Using various internet connections, sending and receiving emails from multiple accounts, keeping massive amounts of important files all on one computer or thumb drive — it all exposes the business traveler to more risks.
However, there are some extremely effective ways to protect yourself and your data when traveling. Read on to discover some of the best cyber security tips for business travelers.
01. Secure each and every device.
When traveling, you’re likely using a laptop, a tablet/iPad and a smartphone (or two). You must make sure to have appropriate security features for each and every device.
Utilize the best antivirus protection and securely lock all devices with secure passwords. Take the time to invest in this process for each device before leaving for your trip.
02. Be wary of Public Wi-Fi.
Open, unsecured Wi-Fi can leave you extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks. As tempting as it might be, avoid unencrypted Wi-Fi networks as often as possible.
If you must use a public or unsecured Wi-Fi network, definitely avoid accessing confidential material or sensitive information while connected to these networks. This can help avoid a situation where a hacker is able to gain access to your bank account information or confidential company files because you’re accessing them on an open, unsecured network.
03. Limit your information.
If possible, do not keep personal and business information on the same device. If traveling with a laptop or tablet, limit the saved data and information to only what you need for that specific trip. This way, if you misplace a device or have one stolen, you won’t be giving someone access to all of your private personal data or business information.
04. Avoid auto-connect.
Many smartphones have a setting that will automatically connect the device to Wi-Fi when it is available. While this sounds good to save on data use, the setting could be problematic as it will often connect the device to unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
As the concerns with unsecured Wi-Fi were just discussed above, you should make sure that your phone’s “auto-connect” setting is turned off.
05. Bluetooth’s connectivity.
Not only do you want to turn off “auto-connect” for Wi-Fi, but you should also turn off your device’s Bluetooth connectivity. Because Bluetooth signals can come from just about anywhere, leaving the signal on makes it extremely easy for your device to get hacked.
If you must turn your Bluetooth connectivity on for a call or other business purpose, just be sure to turn it off as soon you’re done.
06. Don’t share your location.
There are so many apps, tools and websites on consumer devices that will automatically capture and share your location if the appropriate settings are not addressed. Not only does location-sharing make it easy for a criminal to target your personal property by knowing where you are and when you are out of town (or out of the hotel room), but it also makes it easier for hackers to know when your devices may be vulnerable.
Sharing your location also sends signals to various apps and websites, and that communication can expose your device to an attack.
07. Strong passwords.
If you’re a busy business traveler, you need to make sure all of your devices have strong, secure passwords. Do not create the same password for all of your accounts, and make sure that they are difficult to guess. Include at least one number and one special character, as well as a mix of capital/lower case letters.
Also, never leave your passwords written down anywhere. You should change them frequently when you’re traveling since you are more exposed to a cyberattack; this will help limit the amount of damage that a bad actor can perform if your password is not stagnant.
08. Know your rights (and your responsibilities).
It’s important to educate yourself about the laws regulating the country or state you may be traveling to. Know if local law enforcement has the right to search your persons or your property, and for what reasons. Understand normal procedures when it comes to airport security, hotel security and public transportation so that you keep yourself, your belongings and your information safe and secure.
09. Encrypt your data.
In addition to having all of your devices password-protected, you should also encrypt all data, at least all confidential or sensitive data. Do not utilize the “autofill” or “remember me” function for any websites that have sensitive material (your work email login, bank account or other platforms).
10. Invest in cybersecurity tools.
There are various tools out there that can help you keep your devices and your information safe when traveling. A protectant laptop sleeve that blocks all signals to and from your computer, such as the Faraday Laptop Sleeve, is an excellent investment and a must-have for any business traveler. A similar sleeve for your phone(s) and tablet is also a good idea.
There are also anti-theft tools and apps that can alert you on a separate device if one of your devices leaves a pre-determined “safe” area. For example, if you’re sitting at the bar in your hotel, you can set a perimeter around where you’re sitting, and if it leaves that safe area, you will be alertedon another device. Tools, such as Avast’s Anti-Theft program, also allow you to locate and track a lost device, activate an alarm and remotely lock the device.
Choose the tool that’s right for you and your needs.
11. Leave the smartphone behind.
This is a great way to limit the information that you might jeopardize. If you can, utilize a temporary phone that can still be used for phone calls and texts, but doesn’t store any of your personal or business information.
For some, this isn’t an option, but if you’re traveling simultaneously with a laptop and/or iPad or tablet, having one less “smart” device to worry about would be a good idea.
12. Passport protection.
A cybercriminal can also wreak havoc simply by lifting information off of your credit card or passport. To avoid this, always keep your personal documents on your persons and in your sight.
Also, it is worth investing in an RFID-blocking passport wallet that will protect your passport, credit cards and IDs, and prevent someone from obtaining information from these cards.
13. Update your system.
Before traveling, be sure that your device is up-to-date with the most recent software and operating system updates. If your devices are not up-to-date, hackers may able to easily find holes or weaknesses in your current operating system and attack or steal your information.
You should also perform a data backup so that all your information may be recovered if something happens to your device while you’re traveling.
There is a lot that a business traveler needs to worry about when on the road (or in the air). Not only is it important to keep yourself and your belongings safe, but it’s also crucial to properly protect all of your data, personal information and devices.
By utilizing these tips discussed above, busy business travelers can prioritize cyber security with minimal effort but maximum protection.