Do you have plans to travel in 2023? Let’s make safety and security one of your new year resolutions in 2023. We all know that traveling can bring about a wealth of enriching experiences and exciting adventures, but it’s important to remember that cybercriminals are waiting to take advantage of those who fail to protect themselves. Cybercriminals have been targeting airports, and the travel industry in general due to the fact people tend to let their guard down when they travel. This posture is doubly compromised when you are the on-point admin for so much of your network. Before you head out the door on vacation or business, there are luckily a few steps you can take to protect yourself from the perils of cybercrime no matter where your wanderlust takes you.
Verifying Wi-Fi Networks Before Connecting
Many of us rely on public Wi-Fi networks when we travel, so it’s essential that we verify each network before connecting. Look for official notifications regarding the network connection and make sure the name is accurate – it should match what is listed in your hotel or cafe’s website, for example. Additionally, be aware of any notifications related to the computer being used on a shared network; if anything appears suspicious, don’t connect!
If you are a system administrator, and you need to do anything remotely administrative, even reading messages, hopefully you either have a VPN in place, a jump box, or another form of technical security in place – Use these now more than ever!
Protect Your Devices from Physical Access by Others
In addition to verifying Wi-Fi networks, it is also important that only you have access to your devices – even if someone in the family asks nicely! Always keep your devices with you and avoid leaving them unattended in public places. Don’t forget to add password protection and encryption to sensitive files as well; this will ensure that any data stored on your device remains secure even if it falls into the wrong hands.
Only You Should Have Access to Your Devices
Another way cybercriminals target travelers is by stealing their devices when they’re not looking. Invest in cable locks and cases that make it difficult for thieves to snatch them away while you’re distracted or asleep in transit.
Arm Yourself with Dual Factor Authentication
Yeah, you NEED this – so if you are an executive or entrepreneur, and your account is somehow exempted in any way from MFA policies, change that immediately. There is not much excuse not to use this powerful tool across all accounts. If enabled, dual and multi-factor authentication requires two pieces of information (such as a username and password) before granting access. This means that even if someone steals your login credentials, they won’t be able to access any accounts without both pieces of information. It’s an extra layer of protection that everyone should take advantage of.
Always have coverage. Even if you don’t have someone on staff, bring in a partner, a trusted advisor, or even someone with a related but indirect role. Help them understand where to get information, reports, where to manage accounts, where projects are at, and any pertinent information including runbooks that might help you either work together or work in your stead if you are delayed or must extend your time away from the office.
Stay Safe on Your Next Adventure: Protecting Yourself from Cybercrime
These are just the basics of protection, but they become much more important once you access things as an IT professional or a system administrator. You are a target and to malicious outsiders, between travel and your role, you are a weak point to target.
Remember. Cybercrime can strike anywhere; specially while traveling domestically and especially abroad! The good news is that there are plenty of simple steps anyone can take—such as verifying Wi-Fi networks before connecting, watching out for suspicious notifications on shared networks, always keep close watch over personal devices, and arming oneself with dual factor authentication—to protect themselves against these digital perils no matter where their travels take them. So go forth bravely – but cautiously – into the great unknown.