Have a cyber safe holiday

When going on vacation, people often forget to take cyber security with them. Here are eight tips on how to have a cyber safe vacation.

10-07-2023 - 7 minute read. Posted in: tips.

Have a cyber safe holiday

Summer is upon us, and that means vacation and travel for many. But what you might not realize is that you also need to be cybersecure on vacation - both when you're at home and when you're traveling. Here we take a look at some of the most important things to remember while on vacation - because it's high season for cyber threats and hacker attacks.

Good preparation

One of the first and most important things to remember when going on vacation is to prepare your devices and brush up on the key elements of good, strong cybersecurity. Good cybersecurity is just as important as remembering to wear sunscreen on vacation.

That's why we've put together some tips to help you stay safe on vacation and secure your devices from cyber threats. Many people forget about cybersecurity when preparing to go on vacation because there are so many things to consider and remember. But here, cybersecurity should become one of those things on the to-do list.

Below we give you 8 tips to add to your to-do list so you can go on vacation cybersecure and safe, without having to worry about hackers getting into your devices and software.

Tip 1: Remember to secure your network

Our first tip for good cyber security before your vacation is to secure your home network and router. Since you're traveling anyway, you might as well turn off your router so you don't risk hackers taking advantage of your unattended router.

The router is one of the entry points for hackers - after hybrid working came along and became part of our everyday lives, the router is an attractive way for hackers to access our data. So if you turn off your router, you remove the hacker's ability to use it as a gateway to your data.

If you don't want to turn off routers completely, you can secure them by creating a strong and unique password for the router - typically, the router comes with a default code, which is often just "password" or "admin". These passwords are easy for hackers to crack, so if you create a password for your router yourself, you can better secure it against hacker attacks.

Tip 2: Update your devices

As you may have heard in the cybersecurity community, updates are an essential part of good cybersecurity. Updates contain patches for security holes in systems and software. These holes are access points for the hacker, so it's important to close them as soon as possible.

That's why it's a good idea to download possible updates for all your devices before you go on vacation - this includes your router. Firstly, you'll be sure of a stable network connection when you download the update, and secondly, you won't have to worry about it once you've landed and are ready to enjoy your vacation.

Tip 3: Protect your personal information

Many hotels have computers available for hotel guests, but remember to be careful when using these computers. You can't be sure that hotel computers are fully secured, so avoid using these computers for sensitive tasks, such as accessing the bank or checking in with passport details and personal data.

You can't be 100% sure if cybercriminals have accessed the computer and compromised the software that monitors activities on the computer. They can perform Man-in-the-middle attacks or key-logging on these computers - so, don't be their next victim by using public computers for sensitive activities.

Tip 4: Beware of public networks

In addition to staying safe on hotel computers, you should also be aware of the public networks you encounter on your vacation. Places that offer free WiFi can be:

  • The airport
  • Cafés, bars and restaurants
  • Hotels and resorts
  • Beaches
  • Museums

All of these places will typically offer free WiFi, but remember that when you can access the internet without a password, so can the hacker. And once you're both on the same network, the hacker can potentially hack into your devices connected to the same network.

Therefore, we recommend using a VPN that makes your online activity invisible - if you want to connect to public networks. Otherwise, we suggest using your phone as a hotspot for your devices, as you know it's secure and requires a password to connect.

Tip 5: Make backups

Our fifth tip for good cybersecurity on vacation is to make backups of your devices. This is also a part of the preparation before you go on vacation, as - just like with updates - it's easier and faster on your own network.

When you have backups of your devices, you're better off in the event of hacker attacks, like ransomware attacks, or if you lose your devices while on vacation. With backups, you can restore your devices - avoiding the need to pay the ransom in the event of a ransomware attack, as you have backups of your files and documents stored in a safe, remote location.

Tip 6: Use multi-factor authentication

Another thing you can do to secure your personal data and devices is to use multi-factor authentication (MFA). These provide an extra layer of security and require an additional type of authentication to access data and devices.

This can be, for example:

  • Biometric authentication (face or fingerprint scanner)
  • One-time password on SMS
  • Authenticator apps

MFA makes it much harder for the hacker to penetrate your software and devices - for example, it's difficult, if not impossible, for them to recreate your face to unlock your device, and if you use an authenticator app, they need access to it in order to log into your social media or bank.

Tip 7: Keep an eye on your devices

It may seem obvious, but you need to remember to keep an eye on your devices when you're on vacation. This can be when you're lying on the beach or by the pool, or when you're out to eat. Many people don't realize that our phones, for example, are at risk of being stolen, even if they're on the table in front of us. But this is where clever pickpockets can distract us by trying to sell us something: while we might decline the offer, they can snatch the phone from the table.

That's why you should keep a close eye on your devices when you're out and about - no matter where you are. And again; it's a good idea to have MFA on your devices, because hackers and scammers can't use your device to access online banking and social media with a device with MFA, only to sell them. Here it's nice to know that you have MFA so they can't access sensitive information and that you've made backups. This means that you only lose the "shell" of your device and not everything you have on it.

Tip 8: The hacker doesn't go on vacations

The last piece of advice we want to give you for the holidays is that hackers don't take vacations, which means the phishing won't stop because you're off work.

Cybercriminals will typically take advantage of special events or holidays to create more convincing phishing, and now that everyone is going on vacation, they will use this to their advantage. They can make phishing scams that look like travel offers, imitate travel companies or check-ins - all of which require you to click on links or call phone numbers.

We therefore encourage you to be extra vigilant during the peak travel season and take extra care of your devices and inbox. We want your vacation to be enjoyable and free of any worries so you can focus on relaxing - in a cyber-secure way.

Author Caroline Preisler

Caroline Preisler

Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.

View all posts by Caroline Preisler

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