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7 security tips you should know about before you go on holiday

22 June, 2020

The summer holidays are a time for relaxation with friends and family, whether you are at home or exploring exotic places. No matter what plans you have for the summer, it is a time for relaxation from a hectic everyday life. But this can quickly be abruptly put to an end if you find yourself in a situation where your personal information goes astray.

Therefore, we would like to remind you of some of the most typical pitfalls in IT security that one may encounter. We have put together a list of seven security tips that can help you stay secure while on a summer holiday:

1. Make sure to configure the password / PIN on your mobile and tablet
This is your first line of defense should you lose your mobile phone or tablet while on holiday. If your device is password protected, it will be much harder for criminals to gain access to your device. 

2. Be aware of fake booking sites
Make sure you book hotel rooms or rent flats or houses through a reputable booking sites. Websites can show false prises by, for example, write that they are collaborating and affiliated with hotels, when in fact they are not. This can result in you being charged hidden fees, incorrect accommodation or false reservations. The safest way to avoid being scammed is to book directly through the hotels website.

3. Turn off Bluetooth while traveling 
Bluetooth is great to have in the car or at home where it is safe to communicate with other electronic devices. But unfortunately, many forget to turn it off once we enter public places. If your Bluetooth connection is on, anyone sitting in the hotel lobby or at a nearby coffee shop can pick up your signal and access your phone without you noticing. 

4. Be aware of free Wi-Fi at hotels, airports and cafes
Having access to free Wi-Fi while on vacation is great – how else is one supposed to stream a show on Netflix, read today’s newspaper or share photos from your holiday? But keep in mind that free Wi-Fi is also public, which means that any person at the hotel or airport can access that account. Non-password protected Wi-Fi is also particularly vulnerable. A rule of thumb is that you should avoid logging in to sites with sensitive information, such as online banking or health services when you are using public networks.  

So what should you do if you need to check the balance in your bank account? The easiest safest way to do so is using your mobile data. Another safe solution is to get a VPN for private use.

5. Pay attention to card readers
Maybe you are going on a road trip in Europe this summer, and need to refuel at a petrol station along the road. Or you need to withdraw money at an ATM on a southern holiday to have enough cash when you go shopping at a local food market. ATMs and petrol pumps are targets for cybercriminals who can attach skimmers to steal bank account or credit card information, and then eventually empty your bank account.

Before swiping your card, carefully check the card reader to see if a shimmer is attached to the card reader. In addition, it is a good idea to take an extra look around the ATM or petrol pump to check if there are small surveillance cameras nearby pointing at the keyboard. These can then be intended to capture details such as your PIN code.

6. Check sensitive accounts regularly 
Before leaving the hotel for a day of sightseeing, be sure to check information-sensitive accounts such as online banking, and remember to check when you return to your hotel. The earlier you detect cybercriminal behavior, the better. And remember: always log out of your accounts after use.

7. Keep an eye on children’s internet habits during the summer holiday
Without school, homework and leisure activities, children can spend more time in front of the screen than they otherwise do in a hectic everyday life. It is therefore important to talk to the children about the dangers of cyberbullying. Guide your children on what is safe to do online and navigate them using the internet. 

Follow these seven IT security tips when you now take a holiday, and enjoy your holiday with security.

We wish everyone a good summer!