Here is the sad reality: when COVID-19 entered to our lives at the start of 2020, travel exited. Conferences, events, meetings with international partners, business or leisure travel all ceased to exist and was resignedly traded in for virtual spaces. But now, in 2022, as the world gradually lifts its restrictions and opens up its borders again, people are traveling again too (especially at the end of year when the school holidays are for those who have kids, and when people need to start clearing their leaves).
But whether employees are traveling for business or pleasure, companies need to consider the cybersecurity implications of that travel. It’s easy to understand how physical safety is put at risk when you travel: you’re exposed to new modes of transportation, environmental factors, and tourists are often given extra attention from pickpockets and scammers. But did you know your data is also at a greater risk when you travel?
Here's What Your Business Needs to Know About Data Security While Traveling:
Why Traveling Poses a Risk to Your Business
It’s not only personal data that’s at risk—every time an employee travels with devices containing company data (which can be something as simple as even having their company’s email app on their phone), they put their employer’s data at risk too. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for opportunities, and the surge in end of year travel presents an excellent opportunity for cybercrime.
Here are just a few common threats that travelers may come across:
Business Email Compromise—texts, emails, and other phishing activities that disguise themselves as routine communications. This content will often be from what seems like a trustworthy source but are actually bad actors trying to uncover confidential data (often passwords to high value accounts)
Installation of malware via public networks—these attacks are often hard to detect, as cybercriminals have become good at concealing their actions from the untrained eye
So what are the Top 16 Cybersecurity Tips for Secure Travel
Before you embark on a trip:
Back up the data on your devices on the cloud
Update all software and applications on your devices
Remove any sensitive data that you won’t need during your travels (e.g. your entire list of passwords for all your accounts)
Change passwords and PIN numbers across applications and devices
Invest in a privacy screen for your mobile devices
Avoid these common mistakes:
Using public Wi-Fi and shared devices
Leaving devices unlocked or unattended in a public space
Bringing devices you won’t need on your trip
Plugging in devices to shared charging stations
Downloading software from any unverified source
If you need to use public Wi-Fi or computers:
Turn off automatic connectivity.
Try logging in with an incorrect password. If the wrong password works, the network is likely unsafe
Avoid tasks, including online shopping and banking, which would require privileged information to be shared on the network
Only visit sites beginning with https:// to make sure they are using encryption
Occasionally disconnect from and reconnect to the network while you’re using it
Consider using a VPN