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As the pandemic winds down, business travel is once again booming. Such travel requires communicating with the home base and interacting with diverse people. The devices you use this for contain personal and business data that’s considerably more at risk in unknown environments. This article highlights some of the cybersecurity threats business travelers can expect. It then breaks down what they can do to protect it into three categories and gives useful tips for each.
What Cybersecurity Dangers Do Travelers Face?
Cybercrime knows no borders, and criminals everywhere are aware of your data’s potential worth. While not as relaxing as vacations, business trips are opportunities for travelers to become lax with their cybersecurity habits. Criminals count on that. They employ countless tricks that exploit travelers’ mistakes, leaving their data exposed for theft.
If you’re traveling to certain parts of the world, there’s also the local social and political climate to consider. An opinion or affiliation that seems harmless in your country can be controversial or dangerous in another. Expressing it in an accessible online venue like social media while in that country might put your well-being at risk.
How To Protect Your Data While Traveling
Conscientious individuals can do much to negate the increased cyber security risk traveling entails. Stick to the following tips, and you should have much less to worry about.
The last thing you want is for your valuable devices to get stolen, so keep an eye on them at all times. That means using Kensington locks for your laptops and not relying on a hotel’s safe for security. Take all your devices with you wherever you go. If that seems inconvenient, consider which are necessary for the trip and leave others at home. Your phone presents a tempting security risk, so consider not taking it at all. Burner phones are cheap and easy to come by, so consider using one instead.
Make physical access to your devices as complicated as possible. Hard drives and USB locks will prevent others from physically accessing the data. You should also set up lock screen devices and use two-factor authentication. That way, someone won’t be able to log into your profile if they don’t have your smartphone.
Sneaky criminals place fake USB charging ports in airport terminals, train stations, etc. You should charge everything before leaving and bring a power bank to recharge. If that’s not an option, only use regular electrical outlets.
If you only take one thing away from this article, it should be never to connect to public Wi-Fi. At best, it doesn’t provide adequate data security as it is open to anyone. At worst, it can be a front designed to access sensitive info like passwords and banking details. Sometimes using such Wi-Fi is unavoidable. Even then, don’t connect your business phone or laptop. Avoid visiting sites that require login information.
Ensure all your devices have antivirus and antimalware protection. Malware and ransomware, in particular, present a growing security threat. It’s easier to accidentally pick something up when dealing with dodgy connections. Make sure the software and any operating systems you use are running the latest version.
One way of reducing malware’s effectiveness is to back your files up with secure cloud storage. After all, no one can steal important data if it’s not stored directly on your laptop. Cloud storage comes with data encryption, providing an extra layer of protection to its integrity. Also, remember to remove or encrypt any important information you wish to remain on your devices.
Before departing, change all your passwords and PIN codes to something unique. Clear your browser cache and stored passwords. Disabling autocomplete and typing login details in manually each time will also help. Even if you’re convinced a connection is secure, limit the number of online accounts you use. Access them only when necessary.
Ideally, you should avoid posting to social media while on business trips. You may sometimes need to talk about your whereabouts for work purposes. When you do, mention only locations you’ve already left so no one can track you in real-time.
Keep your socials private and limited to people you know only. Refrain from commenting on current events or anything others could interpret as disrespectful. Instead of social media, choose to connect with your colleagues via a company-approved communication tool like Slack. You can also keep an eye on your workspace via office management software such as Flanco.
Traveling for work lets you build new business relationships and broaden your mind. It can help with burnout or snag new clients that value face-to-face interaction more than virtual meetings. As long as you prepare for the associated cybersecurity challenges, they can be some of the most rewarding experiences of your career.