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Avoiding the Travelling Blues

March 13, 2024 - Rick Yachiw, Director of Compliance

As Homer Simpson said, it’s Smarch! It’s that lousy time of year when we’re probably digging ourselves out of snowstorms and simultaneously calling our travel agents. While you jump start your summer by going on a late-winter holiday, don’t forget to be privacy and security aware. The last thing you want when you travel is to have your data breached or identity stolen. The following tips can help!

  • Don’t use public WiFi networks. These are not secure. Instead, use your phone’s data to connect to the internet.
  • When not using them, turn off WiFi, GPS or Bluetooth on your devices.
  • Secure your devices and accounts by using strong passwords and two-factor authentication. Change your passwords when you get home.
  • Make sure your devices all have the latest security updates.
  • Take devices, such as phones or tablets, that you designate for travel. Keep what you store on these devices to the bare minimum of apps, photos, etc.
  • Turn on any tracking capabilities your devices have in case they’re lost or stolen. If you can remotely wipe a device such as your phone, learn how to do this before you set sail. At the same time, make sure you have backed up all important data to an external device that you left safely at home.
  • Keep your devices close to you. Lock them up in the hotel’s safe when you can’t take them with you. Never, ever leave any of your devices unattended. As we’re prone to leaving a device behind rather than having it stolen, double check when you’re leaving an area that you have your device with you.
  • Refrain from logging into accounts on public devices, like those in your hotel’s business centre. Devices such as these may have keyloggers and malware installed.
  • Avoid public USB chargers or charge ports. USB cables transfer data – criminals love accessing your data this way. When you can, directly plug your device into a power outlet.
  • Travel light by taking only the travel documents you need. Make copies of all your travel documents, including your ID, credit cards, or any other personal information you’re bringing. Leave these copies with someone you trust, such as a family member.
  • We all want to tell our friends on Facebook and Instagram about our travel plans, but it’s probably better to hold off until you return. No one needs to know you will be leaving your home empty for a week or two.
  • When you do get home, check your credit card statements to make sure there are no unauthorized or suspicious charges.

Data breaches or identify theft occur when devices, documents, etc., are stolen or left behind, or left vulnerable to cyber-attack. Always be privacy and security aware. It’ll make for a better holiday if you don’t have to deal with lousy Smarch weather AND a breach of your privacy or data.

 

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