Secure Yourself this Summer! How to Holiday with Peace of Mind
Summer is here! And if you’re about to jet off on holiday, IT security is probably the last thing on your mind. Thoughts of malware, spear-phishing and anti-virus are perhaps not as high on your agenda as sun, sea and sangria.
However, it’s important to heed the warnings and ensure that your high holiday spirit doesn’t leave you vulnerable to IT security concerns.
With a little bit of planning, you can ensure that you not only have a great holiday, but will return home to find your computer and your electronically held data intact too.
Don’t Post about Your Holiday on Social Media
Home security experts Friedland have found that 78 percent of burglars they questioned for a recent survey said they use Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare to pick out potential homes from which to steal.
In fact, some insurance companies are now warning that by posting your holiday plans on social media, you could be invalidating your home insurance.
Spear Phishing on the Rise
The Sun reported how one woman had lost £5,000 after receiving an email purporting to be from a work colleague who had her handbag stolen whilst on holiday. In fact, the email was a spear-phishing attack.
This example illustrates the other potential danger of posting holiday plans on social media; the information you share can leave you and your family, friends and colleagues vulnerable to targeted email attacks like this.
Plan Your Handovers Wisely
It’s good practice to make time for a well-planned handover before you set off on leave. It takes the pressure off your colleagues and makes it much less likely you’ll be disturbed while away. It also means you won’t be tempted to share passwords with colleagues when they urgently need a file or to access information.
Back Up and Update Before You Go
Back up everything on any device you plan on taking away with you before you go; this way, if your phone or laptop is stolen, you still have your files. It’s also worth ensuring you install the latest security patches for your apps so you aren’t vulnerable when you access unfamiliar networks while away. Update your operating systems so you are running the latest versions and update your anti-virus protection too.
Don’t Use Unsecured Networks
The desire to check your emails or social media feeds while you’re away can make it tempting to use unsecured public networks – but don’t let your guard slip just because you’re on holiday.
Turn off your Wi-Fi when you are not using it and, if you must use public Wi-Fi, use a virtual private network (VPN) or better still, a 2-factor-secured Remote Desktop Service type workplace connection to your important data. These types of connections encrypt traffic between your computer or mobile device and the internet, even on unsecured networks. If this is for your own personal (not company) data then you could set up your own personal VPN account from a VPN service provider.
Don’t Advertise the Tech You Take with You
Laptops and smartphones are attractive targets for thieves.
Don’t make it easy for them. Try to take as little with you as need. For those devices you can’t avoid taking, use the hotel safe to lock devices away when you are not using them. When you are using them, try to be discreet and use caution – don’t leave your laptop unattended on the table while you collect your coffee from the counter, for example. And if you’re not using device-based encryption on your portable device, then you’re really exposing your data in the event of your laptop or tablet being stolen.
Secure Your Devices In Case the Worse Happens
If you haven’t already, set a password on all your devices. Check that you have a “time out” configured on your devices too, so they become locked if you don’t use them for a short period. Set up anti-theft device tracking on your devices, so you can share information with local police and/ or erase the data stored on your device if it should get stolen.
Follow these suggestions and you can help to protect yourself from attack and ensure you aren’t left vulnerable while you’re away.
If you would like more information about upgrading your anti-virus solutions, setting up a secure Remote Connectivity solution, or other IT security best practices, then Grant McGregor can help.
Contact us on 0808 164 4142.