Does your business require you to travel? According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Americans make over 405 million business-related trips each year. Whether you’re traveling within the United States or outside the country, though, you may want to bring a laptop or tablet computer. While bringing a device can improve your productivity, you should take precautions to protect against cyber attacks.
#1) Back Up Data Before Traveling
Before traveling, create a backup of all the data stored on the device that you intend to bring. If your device gets lost or stolen, you’ll lose that data if it’s not backed up to a separate location. Backing up your data won’t necessarily protect you from cyber attacks when traveling, but it will mitigate the damage if your device is lost or stolen.
#2) Don’t Connect to Unencrypted Wi-Fi
Never connect to an unencrypted wireless network (Wi-Fi) when traveling. If the Wi-Fi at your hotel — or anywhere else for that matter — isn’t encrypted, any data you send or receive over it could be intercepted by a nefarious third party. Only connect to encrypted Wi-Fis that require you to enter a password.
#3) Keep OS Updated
Make sure the operating system (OS) on the device with which you are traveling is updated to the latest version. If you’re running an earlier version of the OS, a hacker could use a known vulnerability in the outdated OS to infiltrate your device.
#4) Use a VPN
Another tip to protect against cyber attacks while traveling is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN acts an intermediary gateway between your device and the local internet service to which your device connects. By tunneling your device’s internet traffic through a VPN, your data will be encrypted.
#5) Run Antivirus Software
Allowing antivirus software to run in the background of your device is the single most effective way to protect against malware infection when traveling. You don’t have to perform a complete scan each time you use your device. Rather, when antivirus software runs in the background, it will constantly scan your device for signs of a malware infection.
#6) Store Device in a Secure Area
An effective cybersecurity travel plan requires physical measures to protect against cyber attacks. Even if your device features the most up-to-date OS, as well as strong antivirus software, your data could be comprised if your device is lost or stolen. Therefore, you should store your device in a secure area. If your hotel room has a locked safe, for example, you can place your device inside it to reduce the risk of theft and loss.