Cybersecurity Tips for the International Traveler

When you are traveling internationally for business, you have a lot of things on your mind. Unfortunately, this means that you are left vulnerable to hackers and scammers. In fact, these criminals specifically prey on travelers and tourists because they know that most people are not thinking about their cybersecurity when they have so many other things to take into consideration. That being said, if you take certain extra steps, you don’t have to spend your trip stressing out about your cyber security. In this blog, we will go over tips that will help you have greater peace of mind during your business trip.

Limit the Opportunity for Theft

The first step towards protecting your cybersecurity when traveling abroad happens when you’re packing for the trip. First of all, consider whether or not you really need a certain device or materials. If you have a laptop filled with sensitive data that belongs to your clients, you should think twice about just how critical it is to bring this device with you. If it isn’t absolutely critical to the business you will be performing, don’t bring it.

This same principle also applies to credit and personal identification cards. The fewer of these you have on you, the fewer chances thieves have of stealing your information, whether physically or using a radio-frequency identification (RFID) device. Make note of anything you’re taking with you, as well as ways to contact customer service in the event that your wallet is stolen.

Finally, consider using a disposable mobile phone when you are traveling. This is especially true if you deal with confidential with your daily device. This lets you travel without the fear of exposing any sensitive information to the wrong person. Your company might consider creating a small collection of devices to be used by employees during international travel that can be wiped clean afterward.

Protect Your Data

If you do have to travel with sensitive data on your device, make sure to protect it. The best way to do this is to double encrypt your data. You can accomplish this by using a disk encryption product to encrypt it once, then using another encryption product to encrypt it again. This way, even if a spy should get the data, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to view it.

Understand Your Rights

Privacy rights differ from country to country. Just as you want to understand the cultural mores of where you are traveling, you want to understand the legal rights you have. In the event that you are crossing borders, you may be asked to hand over data in order to travel to the other country. This is a great case for double encrypting your data, as advised above. This way, even if you do have to hand over the data, they won’t be able to access it.
Consider Physical Security Measures

Just as important as the more high-tech security solutions are the physical security measures you put in place. It may seem very basic, but first and foremost, make sure you don’t leave any of your devices unattended in public. You may think that there should be no problem with leaving your laptop at the table while you go to the cafe counter for a second cup of coffee, but in that small amount of time, a criminal could easily snatch your device and run out the door. These thieves are opportunistic, so if they see the chance, they’ll take it.

In addition, in general, you want to conceal your devices as much as you can. This is especially true if you’re in a crowded area. If a criminal sees you with a smartphone, they may be looking for the right moment to snatch it out of your hands and run away. Make sure to keep your phone tucked away as much as you can, and if you need to talk on the phone, use a headset.

Finally, sometimes, it won’t be practical for you to carry your devices on your person for the whole trip. If you do leave your devices behind in your hotel room, keep in mind that many people have access to that room. It’s better to keep your devices in the safe than out in the open or concealed in your suitcase.

Share With Care

With social media being so prevalent, it’s common for people to want to check in and share where they are visiting. The issue is, this gives criminals a peek into your schedule, affording them insight into who you are and what you do. It’s best to keep your locations private in order to avoid becoming a target.

In addition, these check-ins give opportunistic thieves the information that you are out of the office for the week. Criminals will often use this time when they know you aren’t going to be home to take what they can get. It might be tempting to share photos of your beautiful hotel room in Italy, but keep in mind that even if you are connected on social media, everyone seeing that you are out of the country is not necessarily your friend. Share the photo when you’re back.

Be Cautious About Connections

Take a moment to think before you make any connections with your device, whether Bluetooth or WiFi. When you connect to a Bluetooth device, such as in your rental car, your information can be left behind, such as your contact lists. Make sure any data has been deleted before you return the car if that’s the case.

In addition, be very wary of open WiFi networks. Some scammers will actually set up WiFi networks specifically to steal data from the unsuspecting. Regardless of whether or not this was set up by a criminal, an unsecured WiFi network leaves your data vulnerable. The best course of action is to invest in your own personal WiFi device. This ensures that no one else can access your sensitive information, regardless of where you are in the world.

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