As we enter into "Vacation Season" where we see more and more people go on vacation with their families / take time off work, I thought it might be interesting to talk about some common security tips to use when traveling.
Do NOT leave IT Devices unattended, especially not unlocked. Leaving a valuable device such as a cell phone or laptop or tablet has a large risk of just being stolen - even in a very public area. People don't pay attention to other people's belongings, and it is hard in a crowd to discern if it is being stolen or someone is just picking up something they left. Avoid the problem and don't leave them unattended. When you step away (and keep the device in sight) make sure it is locked. You don't need privileged information to be presented to people while you are in public spaces.
Do turn off your Wireless Network (Wifi) on devices when you aren't going to use it. You don't want to autojoin a public network and broadcast device information to everyone around you. Criminals will sometimes sit or set up public networks for people to access and use that access to strip information and otherwise compromise your devices. Which leads me to....
Do NOT join unknown networks. The temptation is there when you're traveling and someone calls you frantically to just "join the first free network you see" to login and solve a problem. The issue is, many of these networks may be set up for the explicit purpose of trying to compromise or infect your device with malicious software of some kind.
Do use a personal hotspot when possible. It is much more secure to use a personal hotspot than to connecting to public wifi of any kind. There are numerous situations where a public wifi can be compromised, and that compromise can be used to compromise your device and steal your privileged data. Maintaining this is important toward a strong security posture.
Do NOT leave bluetooth enabled if you are not using it with a paired device. This is becoming more and more common, but there are apps that can browse nearby devices to determine information regarding them (or attempt to connect) to bluetooth enabled devices. This can allow criminals to compromise your devices, and it is easily solved by only enabling Bluetooth when you are explicitly using it.
Do make sure all of your devices are backed up prior to leaving on vacation. Sometimes a device is broken, sometimes stolen. Sometimes you end up losing some piece of critical information that may be on your phone as a result. Back ups for cell phones can go straight to the cloud, laptops can have a forced back up schedule your organization has set up. Find out that information and verify that you are backed up prior to going on vacation.
Do NOT bring privileged information on your devices if you don't need to. If your device is stolen, and you have privileged information on it, it could be considered a breach and cause all kinds of issues within your organization. If you do not need privileged information with you (i.e. this is a vacation and you are not accessing those files) simply do not have them locally installed on the device. Many organizations use shared drives and similarly protected VPN shares to prevent local information being stored in this manner, but please be vigilant and aware and keep that information off your devices if you are going to be traveling.
Finally, remember to have fun on your vacation. I'm not the best at keeping work and vacation split - but studies have shown that spending time away from work to recharge and refresh is very important for your mental health (and job performance long term). Burnout has been a BIG problem in 2020 and early 2021, and I hope that when people are able to go on vacation, they spend that time getting the relief they need before returning to work.
I hope this information helps, as always, sign up below to receive the latest updates regarding our blogs.