Everybody travels, everybody wants Travel Security, everybody thinks they have it dialed in, as-in,
“my security is fine!“
Really? Have you noticed that the government gets hacked every day? Have you noticed that your bank, whatever bank you work with, has been hacked many times (true, sometimes you don’t hear about it until way after) over the span of the recent 10 or so years? Your Social Media service, think Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, et.al, have been hacked in some form or another. In many cases those social media services have chosen for reasons that only they can understand, think $, they have sold or shared your confidential and sensitive information.
We know that people like to remain as connected as possible. We like having access to information on a global basis, all the time. I am no different than you on these points…except!
Because I have traveled the world for the U.S. Government, travel security in general, and travel security specific to cyber issues were drilled into me and my colleagues. Often we were put to test on our cybersecurity awareness and practices. We could not travel with personal computers, we could not travel with personal phones, we could not have personal or government data on our devices. This even included music in our playlist. Our government tech people would get our favorite music titles, and supply them back to us in a file format that did not have metadata that correlated to our personal life in the U.S. If we were found by our own people, to have personal data on or during our travels we could be penalized or even terminated for security violations.
I became very familiar with the methods and places that were of particular threat to me and my friends when we traveled. This included the obvious use of public hot spots or WiFi service centers and expanded to internet cafes. But it went much farther than that. There were hotels and locations at foreign sites that were known to be places where cybercriminals set up shop and waited for the unwise traveler to show up and offer up, all their corporate or private data. There are hotels that know when you enter and exit your room based on either the use of your computer scanned access key or evidenced by the power usage come from your room. There were taxi cabs that had data stealing and audio and visual systems in place to capture whatever was made open to their thieving methods.
So, you may ask, when does it happen and where? Don’t ask, it is pointless. We live in global times. The world is connected from pole to pole. If there are people, places, business, and gathering places…there is also cybercrime waiting for you to show up in their spiderweb.
Assume it to be dangerous, a threat, an extreme risk, and act accordingly. It is not hard to do so. Own your own network access. Leave personal information that does not need to be on your devices where you are and travel with a clean phone, tablet or computer.
A cautionary note about virus and security software. I of course highly recommend them. I highly recommend keeping your phone, tablet and computer systems and hardware current and updated on a regular basis. However, criminal hackers and data thieves play games with software developers, software companies and service providers systems. They seem them as a challenge to their skills and need for a challenge. These skilled and brilliant code breakers practice manipulating static or updated systems as soon as a new software update is issued. For the average everyday hand scanner jocky stealing knucklehead, let’s say the waiter at the restaurant you recently ate at if there is such a thing, these security systems are adequate in the short term. But for the experienced hacker or thief, not so much.
Code writers and code breakers abound in this modern era of computing. Most are honest and honorable people just exercising their cyber smart minds. They might even be recently captured, prosecuted and now reformed (?!) hackers, who now work for software and computer companies…or even your government! But there are those others. They are waiting for you to mindlessly stumble into their web of password stealing, data hacking reach. Don’t let it happen to you!
Am I suggesting that with my experience I am above being at risk like you!
Heck no! You, me, everyone everywhere is at risk.
Below is a link to one of the many great articles that talk about these and many other risks out there and how you may be exposing yourself to.
This is from the security company: Help Net Security
High-risk behaviors expose most travelers to cyber risks
Well, did you follow the link and read it? No, well I suggest you do so! Go ahead, click the link…don’t make me….