How Can I Stay Cyber Secure While Traveling? January 23, 2015 By Cait Hartwyk 4 Comments When leaving for any trip, personal safety and health should always be top of mind. In the modern world, a key part of personal safety that should never be neglected is cyber security. Hackers can attack even while you are relaxing poolside at a resort. There are many easy ways to stay cybersecure before you leave and to maintain security while traveling. Here are some tips to keep your personal information and records safe during your next trip. Pre-trip: Ensure that the anti-virus software on all of your devices is up-to-date and fully functioning. This measure will help protect you from malware that may have infected your computer. Clearing the web history and cookies on all devices is a must, especially if you will be using a public wifi connection. Cookies and history are easily accessed and can contain information that could be used in fraudulent transactions. Notify your credit card companies and bank of your travel dates and locations so that that they can keep an eye out for any suspicious transactions. Also, only use well known travel companies, and avoid discount websites to book in country activities as these websites could be set up to steal confidential information. If you do make a reservation or any other type of transaction online, use a secure payment company like PayPal to ensure that your credit card and personal information remains secure. Backup all of your files online or on a separate drive (that should be kept in a safe place, possibly away from your home) so that important data will not be completely lost should something happen to your laptop or phone overseas. Avoid announcing travel plans on social media. By refraining from posting about a trip, criminals will have a harder time of knowing when would be the best time to attack both physically and digitally. During the trip: Use different passwords and pin numbers than you usually use at home. A good way of setting a password is by combining three or four related words to create a code that is not a standard English word. These phrases can be easy to remember, but they are harder to crack, especially when combined with numbers and characters. If you need to use an ATM, only trust known companies, and consider asking your bank about which local banks they would suggest before you go. Never leave your devices unattended. Even if they are charging and you are nearby, they could still be stolen or ‘skimmed’ (a process by which information is quickly ripped from a device, including credit cards). Try to keep your WiFi and Bluetooth turned off while you are not using them. This will save battery life, and it can help keep you safe from roving hackers that may try to access your information. If you are using your WiFi, be sure it is at a ‘secure’ location like a trusted hotel. Hackers have been known to use open wireless connections to access other devices on the network, potentially leaving your device vulnerable to attack. If you are in a location where you believe there is a viable possibility that your phone, tablet or laptop could be hacked (protests or large conventions, for example), then turn off your device and remove the battery. While inconvenient, this is the only way to be 100% sure that your systems cannot be accessed. Some companies like Scottevest offer clothing that can block incoming signals to your devices and can provide a similar level of protection without the need for a full blackout. Post-trip: When you return home, be sure to clear your web history, cookies and other temporary data from all of your devices. Run virus scans on all devices that you took overseas, and consider resetting your passwords, even the simple ones. Much like taking malaria medication even after arriving home from a developing nation, it is important to take necessary post-trip precautions in order to avoid any unwanted digital problems. Simple precautions can save a lot of trouble, and they will help keep your personal information safe and secure. Just like a visit with a Passport Health Travel Health Specialist is crucial to ensure good health before, during and after a trips, these cyber security tips will help your electronic devices remain secure. Do you have any additional tips on how to stay cyber secure while traveling? Leave a comment below or on the Passport Health Facebook page!