Thursday, December 15, 2011


As the holiday season approaches, the Department of Homeland Security’s Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign reminds travelers getting ready to head to crowded airports, train, and bus stations to be vigilant with their electronic devices. While many rely on these devices for travel arrangements, identity thieves may try to take advantage of unsuspecting victims on the go. The holidays are a peak time for traveling and hacking alike - in fact, you are 15 times more likely to have your identity stolen than to have your car broken into. [1]
Two key challenges for travelers are the use of unsecured wireless networks at hotels, airports, and other public venues and the infiltration of smartphones through Bluetooth technology, as cited in USA Today. The hospitality industry is the second highest targeted industry for data breaches, behind financial services.[2] 
Follow these simple steps to protect yourself and your personal information while traveling – and remember: Stop and think before you connect.
             Avoid announcing travel on social networks.  Limit your chances of being targeted while traveling and protect your home from potential intruders.
             Password protect your devices. This year, travelers lost 11,000 mobile devices at the busiest U.S. airports, 37.5% laptops and 37.2% tablets or smartphones.[3] 
             Use a credit card to book travel arrangements and for purchases while traveling. There are laws to limit your liability for fraudulent credit card charges, and you may not have the same level of protection when using your debit card.
             Turn Bluetooth off if you’re not using it. Cyber criminals have the know-how to pair their Bluetooth device with yours to steal personal information.
             Be wary of Wi-Fi networks. Only connect over secure networks; checking email, financial accounts, or online shopping over unsecure networks provides an easy gateway for hackers to access your information.
[1] Lifelock
[2] Verizon’s 2010 Data Breach Investigations Report
[3] Credant Technologies