Airport with Guy Fawkes mask
Image: theUSBport.

With the summer season coming, many people plan to travel off state or even overseas. Carrying your gadgets around and connecting to the internet using unknown hotspots poses a significant cyber security risk to your data.

Hotels, airports, restaurants, resorts, and even cruises are some of the most targeted places for hackers to compromise systems during the upcoming season. People tend to be in a confident mindset and believe they are going to have a great time, so they don’t consider the possible threats.

Malware, phishing scams, man-in-the-middle attacks, and more hacking techniques are the preferred methods of cyber criminals looking to turn a profit while everyone else is enjoying some days off. Here are three things you should keep an eye on while you travel this summer.

Public airport toilets: Why not? Open networks: No, thank you. 

Large places with dynamic demographic movements are ideal environments for data gathering. International airport terminals, in particular, are high-profile locations for hacking schemes.

Connecting to a free Wi-Fi hotspot has become so dangerous that some travelers have caught wind of the issue and would rather go without the internet during their waiting time. This is the case in Singapore where people trust public toilets more than they do open networks.

Hackers rely on these free-for-all networks to setup bogus hotspots that open up a backdoor for them to spy and take over users’ browsing sessions. From those, they can quickly look up sensitive data, steal it, and sell it for a profit.

Say no to unprotected connections 

Whether you are on your mobile device, your laptop, or a computer at a cyber café, it is always recommended to use an encrypted connection if possible; particularly if you have never been in that place before.

Protecting yourself is the first step in avoiding a hack or being the target of a widespread cyber-attack. It is our responsibility as users not to make it easy for hackers to get into our systems or reach our data.

It is also recommended you don’t check your bank account or your email if you have sensitive information stored there while abroad using unprotected connections. That is just low-hanging fruit for cyber criminals.

Become invisible to hackers 

Vacations are to relax, so the best preemptive measure against hacking might be abstinence. Your data is safe if you don’t go online and make yourself a target for cyber criminals.

Disconnecting from the internet is not only relaxing but also recommendable from time to time. At least for a while, sometimes letting go of your online persona, social media, emails, and live news feed is necessary.

That is, of course, all the protection that is up to you. Hackers can still get you via phishing emails sent to unsuspecting hotel employees and gather personal data based on reservations.

Source: CNET