While schools have only recently closed their doors – and Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are in place – some families are heading off for a well-deserved winter family holiday.
With the crazy times we are living in right now, becoming infected with malware or becoming a victim of fraud or some other cyber threat is not necessarily something you think about when booking or being on holiday.
Considering how cybercriminal activity continues to grow, Kaspersky Lab formed the following quick guide to (electronically) secure yourself when on holiday or even away for some of the long weekends.
Be careful when booking your holiday
When you have chosen the proper and trusted provider of a place from which to rent your accommodation, be attentive to paying online. Always make sure your machine and browser (and all your software) is completely updated with the latest patches from the vendors, before you make any payment.
Make sure the service through which you are about to pass money is secure and always run a solid anti-virus programme with a built-in safe money protection feature.
Keep an eye on all your devices
There is a good chance that you will take your mobile device and computer with you on your holiday. However, if you’re going to take devices with important data on them – whether it’s your phone, tablet, or laptop – make sure you have backed them up before you leave. And that the backup (with the device information on it) stays at home. This way, if you lose or break your laptop or if it gets stolen; you will at least have all of your data on an external hard drive back home.
For mobile devices, install some sort of anti-theft protection or at least familiarise yourself with the anti-theft features available to you on whatever device it is you work with.
Label your laptop
Think about it – the primary safeguard against lost dogs and cats is a metal tag attached to the animal’s collar on which we imprint our name and phone number. So go ahead and print out a label with your name, phone number, and email address and stick it on your devices in a clearly visible place.
It’s especially important for laptops, as they get lost at the airport security screening.
Make sure your devices are bagged
Another ‘old-school’ recommendation is to travel with luggage, laptop cases, or backpacks that stand out. Both because you’re less likely to lose colourful or unique baggage, and because it’s much more difficult for someone to mistakenly take your bag thinking that it’s theirs if you’re the only person in the room with a neon green backpack.
Similarly, mobile cases are a pretty good way to prevent device confusion. It’s also a good idea to carry your computers and tablets in bags that don’t reveal their contents. Laptop cases or bags signal to the on-looker that a laptop is in the bag, making these sorts of bags obvious targets for thieves.
While on holiday
While you are on holiday, it’s important to have a few numbers with you, in case of any emergencies. This becomes particularly important while you are travelling overseas, as you won’t be connected to the Internet at all times. Therefore, make sure that you have all the numbers on your phone, laptop and written down somewhere.
If you have kids, you’ll probably want to familiarise them and whoever else is travelling with you with the emergency numbers at the very least. Again, if you’re travelling out of the country, learn the process for dialling back to your home country before you leave.
As always, don’t use public Wi-Fi for payments or entering sites that require authorisation with your passwords and other credentials. Don’t even use hotel-room Wi-Fi unless it has a password, which would raise the chances that it is encrypted.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Lastly, don’t put all your “eggs” in one basket. And by eggs, we mean money.
Bring along two or three or more credit or debit cards if you can, so if you lose or have to cancel one, then you have a backup plan. If you’re holding large amounts of cash, put it in the hotel safe (along with your passport unless you need it).
Additionally, remember to keep all your personal devices, such as your laptop and mobile phone in the hotel safe as well.