For most Americans, the holidays are a time for traveling to see loved ones near and far. Whether you are traveling by plane, train, or automobile, chances are you will have at least one connected device in tow. Mobile devices have become an almost essential tool for us all as we travel. We use them to help us navigate a new city, to board a plane with mobile boarding passes, and to share photos of our trip on social media.
However, for as often as Americans rely on their mobile devices, most are not thinking about the risks associated with connected devices nearly enough. This holiday season, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is urging everyone to keep their cybersecurity at the top of their list as they use their phones, tablets, and other connected devices while on the go. Below are simple ways to better protect yourself online and avoid cybercrime while you are traveling.
- Avoid free Wi-Fi networks. Though convenient, free Wi-Fi networks – like in some airports, hotels, train stations or cafés – are often used by cybercriminals to access your online accounts and personal information. Before connecting, confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. Never conduct sensitive activities, such as online shopping, banking, or sensitive work, using a public wireless network.
- Lock down your login. Always opt to enable strong authentication when available, especially for accounts with sensitive information including your email or bank accounts. A strong authentication helps verify a user has authorized access to an online account. For example, it could be a one-time PIN texted to a mobile device, providing an added layer of security beyond the password. The White House recently launched the “Lock Down Your Login” campaign to encourage all Americans to enable stronger authentication.
- Guard your mobile device. To prevent theft and unauthorized access or loss of sensitive information, never leave your mobile devices unattended in a public place. Keep your devices secured in taxis, at airports, on airplanes, and in your hotel room.
DHS is committed to helping Americans secure their online lives. Please visit the Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit for more online safety resources including the Cybersecurity While Traveling Tip Card, Mobile Security Tip Card, and Best Practices for Using Public Wi-F- Tip Card. For more information, please visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.
Guest Blog Post From The Department of Homeland Security’s Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign