Cybersecurity threats can increase significantly while traveling whether it’s for business or leisure. In Q2 2021, the travel and leisure sectors suffered a 155.9% rise in suspected online fraud attempts worldwide according to a report from TransUnion.
Bad actors don’t take vacation. They are always on the lookout for vulnerable targets. They can be after your data, your devices, your money and your reward points. In June 2022, Intel 471 reported about a malicious actor targeting mileage rewards accounts with at least 100,000 miles.
Cybercriminals can take any form : script-kiddies, hacktivists, nation-state actors, individual scammers and criminal organizations. While most attackers are financially motivated, some government hacking groups target travel and hospitality entities as well. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reported that GTsSS, cyber actors linked to Russia GRU, have frequently collected user’s credentials in this sector.
Travelers can be targeted from airline booking websites, hotels or Airbnb, airports, events … while using Bluetooth, WiFi, shared computers, and public charging stations.
Even when resting, you need to stay alert when traveling locally or internationally.
Source : IBM Security
Here are a few tips and resources to help you remain cyber secure during your trips.
1. What are the top cybersecurity risks for travelers?
ATM skimming occurs when devices illegally installed on ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, capture data or record cardholders’ PINs.
A type of cyber attack that uses a USB charging port to steal data or infect phones with malware.
An act of tracking and recording every keystroke entry made on a computer often without the permission or knowledge of the user.
A type of social engineering technique used to obtain PIN numbers, passwords and other confidential data by looking over the victim’s shoulder.
The art of exploiting human psychology, rather than technical hacking techniques, to gain access to restricted areas, systems or data.
- Hidden Cameras
Scammers are taking advantage of increasingly-compact hardware to use hidden cameras to spy on people. (Check out this article from Business Insider)
- Theft of physical copies of documents
“Bag operations” is the term commonly used to describe surreptitious entry into hotel rooms to steal, photograph, or photocopy documents; steal or copy magnetic media; or download from laptop computers. (Check out this article from Auburn University.)
2. How to mitigate cybersecurity risks before your trips?
- Look out for fake flight and hotel websites.
- Obtain specific pre-travel country risk assessments.
- Do not take unnecessary identification or credit cards.
- Do not travel with unneeded devices.
- Be sure to back up important data to a secure location.
- Enable MFA on important accounts.
- Log out of your social media accounts.
- Enable full-disk encryption.
- Enable alpha-numeric login instead of 4 or 6-digit passcode.
3. How to be cyber safe during your trips?
- Do not enter sensitive information while connected to unsecured networks.
- Ensure HTTPS is enabled for all web browsing.
- Do not leave devices unattended.
- Be aware of social engineering.
- Disable broadcast services like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS when not needed.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) and avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.
4. What to do when you return home?
- Do not use electronic device received as gifts during your trip.
- Do not copy sensitive information onto a computer that has been abroad and has not been wiped upon return.
- Change all your passwords.
- Report any unusual circumstances.
- Clear your Internet browser.
- Review banking and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions.
- Scan devices for unusual activities with the help of your IT support professional.
5. What resources are available for travelers to protect themselves?
- Cybersecurity for Hotels: and Corporate Offices by Steffen Kroehl
- Computer Security While Traveling: Cyber Security Field Guide by Michelle Held
- A Traveler’s Guide to Cyber Security by Jeffrey Carr
- Safety and Security for the Business Professional Traveling Abroad by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- SAFE TRAVELS: Counterintelligence tips by Office of the Director of National Intelligence
- International Travel Guidance for Mobile Devices by U.S. Federal Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council
- Cybersecurity Tips for International Travel by Montana Information Technology Services Division
- Travel Cyber Security by USDA
- Ensuring Cybersecurity While Traveling by NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- Fancy Bear fingered, again. Warnings for travelers by Dave Bittner (The CyberWire)
- Cybersecurity safe travels by Laura Franco (Life Care Services)
- The Wild World of Cybercrime by CyberAware Podcast Minnesota State University, Mankato
- Cyber Security Tips for Travelers by Rudy Maxa
- Don’t Let Travel Scams Ruin your Vacation Plans by Gate 15
- CyberDecoded : Travelers
- CyberTips for Travelers
- Cyber Story : Cyber criminals steal frequent flyer miles
For more content about cybersecurity for travelers, visit https://cybermaterial.com/travelers/
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This article was written by Marc R with the support of Team CyberMaterial, Sofia C. V., Nicolás Peña, Fabino R. Darius
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