During the holiday season this year, it’s estimated that nearly 49 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more to be with their friends and family. And this is just the start. We can expect many more to take to the roads and skies over the festive period – whether they’re visiting relatives or planning a great escape abroad. One thing’s for sure, though, we’ll all be making that trip with a set of digital companions: our mobile devices. There’s just one problem. The bad guys know this, and they’ll be primed and ready to take advantage.
That’s why Trend Micro has developed this handy guide to staying safe on the road. It’ll tell you exactly where the main threats are and what you need to do to keep your devices secure and locked down.
Threats are everywhere
In many ways, the risks are the same whether you have a laptop, mobile or tablet device. If it’s internet connected, it’s exposed to cybercriminals across the globe. What do they want? Your personal and financial data for sure – which can fetch a good price on the cybercrime underground. But there are other ways they can make money from you. Ransomware will completely lock up your device if downloaded and could cost hundreds of dollars to remove. Or you could accidentally download malware from a third-party app store designed to call premium rate numbers owned by the hacker.
For those who use their mobile device for work, there’s an even greater risk if a hacker can access your log-ins – or worse, if they manage to physically steal it.
The problem many of us have is that, while we might have our laptops pretty well secured, we’re less likely to have anti-malware running on our smartphones or tablets. And we tend to be more spontaneous when clicking on links or opening attachments in emails. These are all sure-fire ways to download malware. It could even be hiding on legitimate websites, for example in malicious ads.
Public Wi-Fi is another danger zone when it comes to cybercrime. If you absolutely must use one, make sure you don’t log on to any sensitive accounts like email or online banking, because someone may be watching what you do. Remember: even if you have to pay, it’s no guarantee the hotspot is secure. Cybercriminals will be ready and waiting to eavesdrop on your online activity at Wi-Fi spots across the country this holiday season – especially around major transport hubs like airports.
Top tips to stay safe
A blend of tech savvy and good old-fashioned common sense should stand you in good stead. Remember the following to stay safe this holiday season: