04 Aug 2017

Fasten Your Seatbelt: Keep Data Safe While Traveling

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You’re on your way, but are you sure your data is safe from hijackers on the information superhighway? If you’re using Wi-Fi abroad, your byte baggage may be at risk—especially if the Wi-Fi you are using does not require a password.

So how can you protect your information from online pickpockets? Learn how to stay alert on your travels and steer clear of data desperados with the tips below!

1. Make sure Wi-Fi connections are secure.

Free Wi-Fi may seem like a lifeline while you’re traveling, but these networks can also serve as portals for nearby hackers to access your data. If a public Wi-Fi network requires a password for access, it is most likely safe; however, hackers can still maneuver their way into these networks.

2. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to keep information secure when using public Wi-Fi.

A VPN takes data through an encrypted “tunnel” so other devices on the network are not able to decipher it. Since hackers can still pick the lock on password-protected Wi-Fi networks, it is a good idea to invest in a VPN that works across all devices, such as McAfee Safe Connect.

3. Check statements and online accounts regularly and often.

Hackers can oftentimes fly under the radar, so you may not know right away when your data has been compromised. That is why it is a good idea to keep an eye on your statements and online accounts so you are aware of any suspicious activity when it happens and can take action right away.

4. Use a password manager.

If you have been hacked, the first thing you should do is change your password and notify the company from which your account was hacked. Using a password manager, you can change your passwords in a flash if you have been hacked, and also keep track of all of your account passwords in one encrypted location.

5. Create strong passwords that are easy to remember but tough to guess.

In addition to using a password manager, you should create strong passwords for each account that combine capital letters, numbers and symbols. Longer passwords tend to be harder to guess. Do not use information that is freely available, such as your birth date.

6. Turn on two-factor authentication or verification, such as Sign-in & Secure for Google.

Many email and other online services provide an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification to access your account. This makes it much harder for a hacker to access your email or online account from an unrecognized device. Learn how to set up two-factor authentication on Google here.

7. Be cautious about posting to social media when you’re away.

Hackers use many methods to gain information about your location and access your data, including social media. So wait until you’re home to share photos, the location of your destination, and other details.

8. Turn off GPS and Bluetooth unless actively using them.

In addition to extending the battery life of your device, turn off services like GPS and Bluetooth when you are not using them so hackers cannot use those services to access your data.

9. Review operating system and applications regularly.

If your device prompts you to update apps or the OS, do not delay. Updates usually include security fixes, so immediate action further protects your data.