Protect your data and keep your computer, smartphone and tablet secure while using open internet access traveling for business
The FBI’s recent warning to international travelers about the potential risk of hotel Wi-Fi has caused even the savviest travelers to re-examine their own Internet safety practices. While there is no reason to eliminate your use of public Wi-Fi networks completely, you may want to tread into the public pool carefully during your next business trip.
Unfortunately, if one person is hacked while on the airport or hotel Wi-Fi, his or her entire company can become affected, reports Wi-FiPlanet. A few simple measures can go a long way to protecting your own data and the security of your entire enterprise.
Use a Virtual Protected Network
A virtual protected network (VPN) essentially creates a network inside of another network. If you sign into a public Wi-Fi network using a VPN, all of your data will be encrypted, and no one on the public network will be able to access it, regardless of how skilled they are at hacking. A VPN is one of the most critical tools in data security while traveling.
Protect All Devices
Many business travelers would never leave home without updating all the security software on their laptops. However, these same travelers often forget to protect their smartphones and tablets.
Smartphone users are almost a third more likely to become victims of identity theft than the average consumer, LifeLock reports. If your phone is lost or stolen, scammers may be able to access your personal information and commit fraud.
First, protect your smartphone with a password. Then, ensure that these devices have antivirus software in place. Ideally, whether you are on the road or not, you should also ensure that your smartphone is not set to automatically connect to available Wi-Fi networks. If your smartphone connects without your knowledge, you may face unforeseen threats.
Ensure Your Entire Email Session is Encrypted
As a veteran traveler, you probably already understand how to boost your online security by using https instead of http before your URLs. You may have noticed that most email providers will automatically use an encrypted protocol (https) while you are logging in to protect your password. However, once you are logged in, most email providers will continue your session with an unencrypted http.
This means that anyone on your shared network can access and read your emails. Even without your password, a skilled hacker can steal your cookie and log into your email after you have closed the window. You can reduce the threat slightly by logging out of your email account rather than just closing your window when you have finished, but the threat will always be there unless you find an email provider who offers a fully encrypted session.
Review and Update your Company’s Security Policies
Employees can easily get around security measures, and if they see these measures as outdated or cumbersome, they will try to circumnavigate your company’s security policies. If you are a business owner or executive, you need to work with your traveling team and your IT department to ensure that your security protocols make sense and that your employees will follow them.
GUEST POST: This article was contributed by Selena Hernandez. A world traveler, Selena has spoken at a dozen social media networking conferences in five countries. When she’s not at her daughter’s dance recitals, she’s brushing up on the latest news in the digital world.
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