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08.25.2023

10 Cybersecurity Tips for Safe Travel

By The Fullstack Academy Team

Woman looking at her phone while in the airport traveling

Travel is an opportunity to enjoy leisure time, explore the world, and gain new experiences. However, the unfortunate reality is that travelers are a prime target for digital cyberattacks. This is because travel and tourism is the third most susceptible industry to cyberattacks, according to the Trustwave 2020 Global Security Report. From phishing scams to malware attacks, your devices and data are more vulnerable to cyberthreats while traveling.

The good news? With a few simple precautions, you can prevent many common cyberattacks from occurring. Don’t let cybercriminals spoil your next trip. Follow these 10 cybersecurity tips to keep your digital life safe while on the go.

Cybersecurity Tips Before You Travel:

Protecting yourself from cybercrime while on the go starts with good cyber hygiene at home. These measures will ensure your devices are not easy targets for digital attacks while traveling.

1. Update operating software. Download the latest software updates on all the devices you plan to take on your trip. These routine operating system updates often include the latest cybersecurity enhancements to keep your device secure. You can make this effortless by enabling automatic updates year-round. If possible, install anti-virus software for additional protection.

2. Strengthen login credentials. First, avoid using the same credentials across platforms to prevent credential stuffing attacks. Consider using a multi-factor authentication (MFA) app, such as Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator, for additional security. This is especially important for banking apps, email, streaming services, and social media to ensure you are the only person accessing these accounts.

3. Backup devices. Set up ‘Find My Device’ and back up your data to the cloud or an external drive. This way, if your device is compromised, you can reset to factory settings without losing all your data. Or, you can disable the device entirely if it is stolen or misplaced. It’s also wise to remove any sensitive data from your device before traveling.

4. Disable auto-connect. Disable auto-connect features for nearby WiFi and Bluetooth connections. Instant connections create vulnerabilities for remote cyberattacks. If you can, disable Bluetooth entirely or while not actively using it on trusted devices.

5. Assess travel websites. Be cautious about the sites you use to plan and book travel. Avoid “too good to be true” last-minute deals and confirm each site’s validity. Before entering personal or payment information, check if the site is encrypted by looking for the small lock symbol in front of the URL.

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Cybersecurity Tips During Your Trip:

Now that you’ve prepared for takeoff, the following cybersecurity tips will help keep you safe while traveling.

1. Use secure WiFi. Be cautious about joining guest WiFi. If you connect to a public network, check the name and carefully follow login procedures. And only visit secure sites beginning with https://, especially if you are making transactions. Finally, delete cookies and clear the browser history before logging off.

2. Protect your mobile hotspot. Using your phone’s mobile hotspot is a safer alternative to guest WiFi. If you use this method, ensure your hotspot is password-protected. Otherwise, strangers can join your network and easily hack into your device.

3. Log out before checking out. Logging out is just as important as logging in. Many short-term rentals and hotels have smart TVs that allow guests to log in to their personal streaming services. Similarly, most rental cars are equipped with Bluetooth capabilities, so you can sync your phone to the vehicle. Before you leave, always double-check that you are logged out of all platforms and have disconnected any devices.

4. Don't overshare. Vacations make for some of the best social media content. However, it’s best to wait until you return home to post about your adventures. If you post on social media while traveling, disable location tracking and avoid sharing content that gives away your exact location.

5. Secure your physical device. Always keep a close eye on your physical devices while traveling. Don’t leave your phone unattended or lose sight of luggage with a laptop or tablet inside. If you leave devices in a hotel room, secure them in a safe. While actively using your device, make sure no sensitive information can be seen by others or install a privacy screen.

By implementing these 10 cybersecurity tips for safe travel, you can enjoy stress-free trips without letting your guard down. Happy travels!

If you’re interested in applying tips like these (and more!) as a cybersecurity professional, explore the Fullstack Academy Cybersecurity Analytics Bootcamp. You can join the global fight against cybercrime by learning in-demand cyber skills like penetration testing, bash scripting, and more!