Gretel Egan | May 07, 2018

Cybersecurity Travel Tips: Proactively Protect Data and Devices

Wombat-Proofpoint-Cybersecurity-Travel-Tips-May-2018According to recent research by Dashlane, a password management company, many of the world’s top travel companies have less-than-stellar (and, in some cases, downright dismal) password requirements for end-user accounts. With that news in mind, it’s time for vacationers and business travelers alike to be more proactive about their cybersecurity habits, from the time of booking until the point they return home.

We have identified some key travel tips that you can implement today to protect your data and devices when traveling locally or abroad:

Get Serious About Protecting Your Accounts

Dashlane’s 2018 Travel Website Password Power Rankings™ revealed that nearly 90% of sites examined “leave their users’ accounts perilously exposed to hackers due to unsafe password practices.” In addition, only a handful of these sites (just 4%) support two-factor authentication (2FA), a feature that would allow users to be extra careful with their sensitive data.

Knowing these statistics, it’s clear that the onus for password security falls squarely on the traveler. Dashlane offers the following tips (which happen to align with our recommendations):

  • Use a unique password for every online account
  • Generate passwords that exceed eight characters
  • Create passwords with a mix of case-sensitive letters, numbers, and special symbols
  • Avoid using passwords that contain common phrases, slang, places, or names
  • Use a password manager to help generate, store, and manage your passwords
  • Never use an unsecured WiFi connection (e.g. public WiFi) while traveling

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What do end users know about key cybersecurity best practices? Our research sheds some light on that.

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Be Smart About Booking

As a former Fortune 500 CISO and cybersecurity expert, our Security Advisor, Alan Levine, knows the lengths cybercriminals will go to in order to get their hands on personal data — and that travelers certainly do not get a pass from these attacks. As he recently told Finance UK, “Arranging travel online can be fast and efficient, but potentially dangerous. Cybercriminals are experts at schemes that can tilt online transactions in their favor.”

Levine offers the following advice for booking travel safely:

  • If you learn about a travel offer in an email, verify the sender and content to confirm that they are legitimate.
  • If you found out about the offer while searching online, the first few search results may have been placed there by cybercriminals, so double check you’re on a legitimate website before handing over money.
  • If you started on one website and got redirected to another, ask yourself why you’re now at a new site that you didn’t intend on visiting — does this new website feel right to you?
  • Look out for spelling, formatting, and other basic mistakes that could indicate that a site isn’t professional. You can confirm if a site’s security level is legitimate by looking for an “https” in the address bar (but remember that https is not necessarily the mark of a safe site).
  • Remember that it’s also always safer to type in a known and trusted web address rather than clicking through to a site via a shared link or an online ad.
  • When paying for your holiday, you can confirm a payment before you complete a transaction by calling the provider directly. Also, always pay with a credit card and not via a debit card or bank transfer – even if you’re offered a “discount.”
  • If a flight or hotel offer seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Be sure to carefully vet any offers prior to booking.

Common Sense and Cyber Sense Can Protect Your Data and Devices

As the leading security awareness training company, our mission is to help people stay cyber safe no matter where they are. The following two blog posts provide actionable tips that will help you protect your personal information, corporate data, and mobile devices while traveling:

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