Looking forward to celebrating the summer season with epic outdoor escapes that inspire, entertain and awe? As you daydream about natural landscapes, adrenaline-filled adventures or picturesque family picnics, hackers are dreaming about how to break into your environment.
Let’s visit wild places, seek adventures and conquer cyber security – all at the same time. In this increasingly complex and dangerous digital landscape, the summer season represents an attractive moment in which hackers often intend to conduct cyber attacks.
Even the most vigilant can be distracted by the prospect a beach trip, online deals, time-crunches or sudden, extreme temperatures. Here’s how to lower your cyber risk exposure and avoid a personal cyber security meltdown.
8 ways to keep devices secure this summer!
1. Approach public Wi-Fi spots with caution.
While free Wi-Fi spots are appealing, they can pose serious security threats. Hackers have been known to lurk in airports, waiting for travelers to log onto public Wi-Fi networks so that they can prey on unsuspecting vacationers. If possible, experts recommend avoiding unsecured Wi-Fi spots in entirety. However, if you absolutely have to use them, think twice before accessing personal accounts or sensitive data while connected.
2. Beware of “shoulder” surfers.
Occasionally, people hanging out nearby -whether at a café or on an airplane- may be interested in stealing your passwords for their own personal gain. Hackers have been known to “shoulder surf” in order to obtain social media passwords or credit card details.
3. Verify travel websites.
Before you book (your ticket, your rental homes…etc), take a moment to examine the domain name of the travel site that you’re using. Scammers have a habit of imitating authentic sites, pretending to offer discounted trips or luxury accommodations in order to pinch personal information.
Consider using a credit card for travel transactions rather than a debt card, as credit card companies commonly have fraud protections in-place, should you fall victim to a cyber crime.
4. Beware of language issues.
In this case, we’re not referring to the linguistic misunderstandings that can occur in international airports or restaurants. Rather, keep an eye out for website misspellings or grammatical errors that could indicate a malicious web domain. And a message that starts with “Hi Dear” is a dead giveaway that you’ve encountered a hacker.
5. Never share your credentials.
The majority of people reuse the same usernames and passwords across online accounts. This is why hackers commonly aim to steal credentials – they can function as the keys to the kingdom. In keeping your accounts secure, never share your credentials via email or text message and only enter them online to access services once you have established the legitimacy of the website.
6. Turn off automatic Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connections.
Although it may be a default setting on your smart phone, disable the automatic Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connection capability. When turned on, this increases the probability of a hacker gaining access to your device.
7. Leverage multi-factor authentication
. When on vacation, you’ll likely have to check your bank account at least once, or gain access to important services that include sensitive financial information. In keeping the data safe, leverage multi-factor authentication. This helps ensure that you are the only one able to access such services. You can also likely sign-up for notifications about any potentially unauthorized logins.
8. Download the latest security patches.
No one likes to take the time to plug-in the phone, download and install the latest software. But you’ll likely have greater respect and appreciation for the time-drain if you know that it helps you stay cyber secure, which it does. Keep all of your devices updated with the latest security updates.
Don’t let the hackers have all the fun this summer. Share good stories after your trips; not those of cyber mishaps.
Embracing more mature security methodologies never hurts. To put it simply, prioritize and mitigate cyber security risk. Get more helpful household cyber security insights here. Discover the full list of summer fun cyber security recommendations here.
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