Cybercriminal. (photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/ipopba)
Summer travel is starting to sizzle, and that means travelers need to be vigilant about security for the devices they use, such as laptops, phones and tablets.
With millions of Americans planning trips, cybersecurity company Lookout’s cyber security expert Hank Schless provided tips for travelers so that they can avoid being hacked and giving up valuable personal information to identity thieves.
Public Wi-Fi Connections
“Although many airports offer free Wi-Fi connectivity, you should make sure that you join the official airport network and not a similar network that is configured to trick travelers into giving up their usernames and passwords,” said Schless.
He advised travelers to watch out for fake networks with convincing names such as Starbucks_Guest_WiFi. These networks appear to be legitimate but can be used to steal login information, passwords and other personal information.
Schless noted that, in order to protect themselves from wifi threats, travelers should make sure that their device’s settings do not automatically connect to nearby networks, which the Lookout app does automatically.
Pay Attention to the Surroundings
Travelers also need to be aware of other devices that could contain malware.
“While on the go, travelers rely on power outlets and USB cords to keep their mobile device’s battery charged. Attackers can exploit USB chargers by loading malware onto them that infects your device the second you plug it in – Always be aware of your surroundings,” said Schless.
He advises travelers to decline offers of USB charging devices and to travel with their own cords. He also said that travelers should avoid using USB ports and plug devices directly into an electrical socket.
Schless said that it is also advised to not leave phones unattended because scammers thrive on stealing data in crowded locations such as airports.
SMS and Email Travel Updates
“It’s important to be on guard for travel-related email, text and social media scams as well,” said Schless. “Attackers may try to steal a traveler’s credentials through phishing campaigns that pretend to be an airline, credit card company, or TSA.”
Schless explained that a scammer will send a message telling the recipient that their TSA PreCheck needs to be renewed, but the link in the renewal email leads to a fake site where hackers can accept payment and steal a victim’s personal information.
The best advice is to always go directly to the official TSA website for information on existing accounts.
For added protection, consumers can also download security protection such as Lookout, which can monitor and identify URL scams in email and text messages as well as on the internet.
For the latest travel tips and news, be sure to subscribe to the daily TravelPulse newsletter here.