A busy travel season can also bring cyber security risks

Posted at 10:26 AM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-22 17:47:13-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The approaching Memorial Day holiday marks the beginning of a busy travel period in the United States, but cyber security experts warn it can also vulnerable to attacks.

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) says technology has made travel much easier - from booking a trip on your phone to sharing photos on social media.

However, they warn that those connected experiences and the increased convenience of public wifi could expose travelers to risk.

"Wifi in the coffee shop, the airport, the hotel lobby- just consider those to be extremely public and start with the notion that what you do on those networks might be viewable by other people," Michael Kaiser wit hthe National Cyber Security Alliance told News 3's Todd Corillo Monday.

Americans spend 8.7 million minutes per month interacting with digital travel content, which is a 41 percent increase year over year.

The NCSA offers these tips for protecting yourself when gearing up to go.

Lock down your login
Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media. Get ready for your summer trek by fortifying your online accounts and enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device.

Keep a clean machine

Before you leave town, it’s important to make sure all security and critical software is up to date on your internet-connected devices. Keep devices and apps updated during travel, too. It is your best line of defense.

Make sure all devices are password protected

Bolt your digital doors and be sure to use a passcode or security feature (like a finger swipe) to lock your mobile device.

Think before you app

Review an app’s privacy policy and understand what data (such as location and entry to your social networks) it can access on your device before you download. Delete apps you are no longer using.

Own your online presence

Not everyone has to know about your travel escapades and summer fun: set the privacy and security preferences on web services and devices to your comfort level for sharing. It is okay to limit how and with whom you share information – especially when you are away.

Actively manage location services

Location tools come in handy while planning your trip or navigating a new city, but they can also expose your whereabouts – even through photos. Turn off location services when they’re not in use.

Get savvy about WiFi hot spots

Do not transmit personal info or make purchases on unsecure networks like those in local cafes and hotel lobbies. Instead, use a virtual private network (VPN) or your phone’s cellular connection as a personal hotspot to surf more securely.

Delete unused apps

Many people use apps that can be specific to a city or attraction. These apps should be deleted when no longer needed.

Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth when idle

When WiFi and Bluetooth are on, they connect and track your whereabouts. If you do not need them, switch them off.

Protect your $$$

Be sure to shop or bank only on secure sites. A web address with “https://” means the site takes extra security measures. However, an “http://” address is not secure.

Never use public computers to log in to any accounts

Be extremely cautious on public computers in public places like airports, hotel lobbies and internet cafes. Keep activities as generic and anonymous as possible.

Share with care

Think twice before posting pictures that would reveal you are not home or that you would not want certain people (like your parents or employer) to see.

Post only about others as you would have them post about you

The golden rule applies online, too.