The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reports that nearly 1 billion travelers make their way through U.S. airports each year. It’s safe to say that the majority of these travelers use public Wi-Fi networks at airports for some combination of work and entertainment. But, not all public Wi-Fi networks are safe.
Unsecured wireless networks can give hackers access to your connected devices, compromising sensitive personal or corporate data. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), hacking remains the primary cause of data breaches – representing 42 percent of all reported incidents in July 2018. Furthermore, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported consumer losses of $905 million in 2017 due to identity theft and other consequences of fraud.
Coronet, a cybersecurity firm, recently published a study on the security risks of airport Wi-Fi. In their study, they analyzed the America’s 45 busiest airports and came up with a list of the 10 most vulnerable.
Even if your airport isn’t on this list, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily secure. Follow these three tips to avoid getting hacked when traveling.
Proceed with Caution When Using Public Wi-Fi
Internet connectivity has become as vital to our work and personal lives as food and shelter. It’s not hard to see why most individuals’ first instinct would be to jump on the quickest and easiest Wi-Fi network available when traveling. However, hackers often set up malicious, seemingly innocent open networks to trick people into connecting their devices. This technique is known as an “evil twin” or “spoof” network. For example, when you go to log in you might see something like “San Diego Int. Airport Wi-Fi” and “SDIA Public”. If you connect to the wrong one, hackers can track your behavior as you log into your personal or business accounts, make purchases, or transmit data.
If you must use public Wi-Fi, always verify you are connecting to the proper network with someone who works at the facility before proceeding. Otherwise you could be putting your passwords, banking or credit card information, and corporate data at risk.
Bring Your Own Mobile Charging Devices
Americans check their phones at least 80 times per day, and even more frequently when traveling. Inevitably, this drains phone batteries quickly, which presents a need for device charging options.
When we don’t have our own chargers available, a public charging station can be a lifesaver. But hackers take advantage of our mobile dependence in a new scam known as “juice jacking.” They’ll set up fake charging kiosks in public areas to lie in wait for unsuspecting victims.
When people plug their phones in to charge, the fraudster can steal phone data or program malware onto their device. And with a breach costing organizations millions of dollars, it can be especially dangerous for those who have their work email accounts connected to their personal phones and tablets.
Be Mindful of Your Surroundings
Not all hacks involve elaborate tech schemes. A fraudster with malicious intentions can simply look over your shoulder to capture your usernames and passwords. If you take your credit card out to make an online purchase, it’s easy for them to take out their phone and snap a quick photo without being seen.
Before using your connected devices, take a look around and make sure you are in a secure location without prying eyes.
Protect Yourself, Your Family, & Your Business
By taking these simple precautions, you can certainly reduce your chances of being hacked while traveling – but there are no guarantees. If the worst were to happen, you’d want to be sure that you could identify and recover from a cyber intrusion quickly to limit the damages.
That’s where IdentityForce’s top-rated identity theft protection comes in. Whether you want to defend yourself and your family, or safeguard your business with ID theft protection as an employee benefit, we’ll monitor your sensitive personal information 24/7/365 and provide 100 percent restoration if your identity is compromised or a data breach occurs.
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