How to Stay Secure While Traveling

By: Emily Nardone

Traveling to conferences and events is one of the best ways to expand your professional network and learn about new ideas from peers and experts around the world. Nowadays, all of our applications & data are stored in the cloud. This makes it easy for us to remain connected throughout an event, but in return, this can lead to multiple different security risks.

Here at Cmd, cloud security is a top priority of ours and we want you to remain safe while traveling to RSA and the other conferences coming up. 

Check out our top 5 tips below to hear the advice of our security professionals when it comes to staying secure on the fly.

Update Devices

Make sure that your devices are updated with the latest versions. It may be mundane getting the “Software update now available” reminder at the top of your screen every now and then, but these updates include new or enhanced features that work with your devices to improve the stability of your software and remove any features that no longer benefit your systems. In turn, keeping your devices secure from arising threats.

According to a recent report from RSA, smartphones are quickly becoming a main attraction for hackers. Fraud from mobile browsers and apps account for over 71% of all illegal transactions. 

 

Change Passwords and Use 2FA

It is a good idea to change to new passwords before you travel and even change them multiple times during a trip. A password manager is a great way to generate a complex password that is difficult for hackers to guess. Better yet, use two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible. This means having a two step login for your devices. 

2FA, such as Google Authenticator, immediately eliminates the risks associated with stolen passwords. If a password is hacked, guessed, or even phished, that’s no longer enough to give access to the hacker: without approval of the second stage, the stolen first password is essentially useless.

Note: At Cmd we use 2FA to secure Linux root access commands and it really does stop threats.

 

Be Smart with Social

Social media can be a great way to connect with peers at conferences. However, social media can also spread unintended information that could compromise your security. If you do post, turn off location sharing and double check that your content does not reveal any sensitive information about your company, what you are doing or where you are located.

For social accounts alone, 22% of internet users said that their online accounts have been hacked at least once, while 14% reported they were hacked more than once.

 

Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi

If you’ve done the preparation above, you won’t need to connect to the airport, hotel or conference Wi-Fi. These “free” services are not necessarily secure and hackers can easily set up hotspots that look like the public Wi-Fi as a web to catch unsuspecting users to intercept logins and other valuable information. 

Cloud is continuing to expand in popularity every single day. The reality is, by 2022, 83% of workloads will be in the cloud. Companies are spinning up cloud-based Linux environments to host critical data, with that being said, one of the biggest ways to get your credentials stolen is to be too trusting of public Wi-Fi when traveling. 

Most companies that have remote employees who need to access their private network utilize a VPN – a virtual private network. A VPN encrypts your data being shared across a public network, giving you the security of a private network. A good start would be to check in with your team to see if this applies to you. 

 

Disable Bluetooth Connectivity

Bluetooth connectivity can present problems. Bluetooth signals can come from anywhere and if your Bluetooth is left on, hackers are able to connect to your phone and potentially get into your device. Keep Bluetooth disabled as much as possible while traveling abroad.

These devices are not limited to just smartphones or tablets – earbuds, smart watches, fitness trackers, and speakers all have the ability to become surprisingly detectable and can be tracked whenever they are on. On the up side, the odds of being hacked via Bluetooth is very low, as  the hacker would have to be within a certain distance in order to have access to any of your devices. So, keep your distance and be aware of your Bluetooth state at all times. 

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The common adage “safe travels”, no longer refers to having a smooth flight and getting a friendly Uber driver. The real key to having a safe trip is taking the steps to prepare for unsecure networks, while accomplishing what needs to be done. Because no one wants to return from a great conference only to later find out the trip caused a personal or professional security breach.  Following the tips above can help create a secure, enjoyable experience at any conference you attend. Don’t get caught with your head in the clouds, or you just might compromise your cloud. 

 

Got anymore tips? Tweet us @cmd_security! 

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