With the school year over, the surge of summer travel plans has begun. With an estimated 60 percent of Americans planning at least one trip over the next three months, hackers have millions of projected tourists to prey on, statistics from cybersecurity firm Lookout note.
Experts say the cyberattackers usually capitalize on travelers who are often overwhelmed or distracted when in unfamiliar environments, like airports and cafes away from home.
Here are some tips on popular security topics:
Public Wi-Fi Connections — Although many airports offer free Wi-Fi connectivity, make sure to join the official airport network and not a similar network that is configured to trick travelers into giving up usernames and passwords. Attackers have been known to set up fake networks with obvious but convincing names like ‘Starbucks_ Guest_WiFi’. Once you connect, they gain access to sensitive information like login credentials, emails, and messages.
To stay protected from wifi threats, it is possible to alter device settings so they don’t automatically connect to nearby networks.
Social Awareness plugging in — While on the go, travelers rely on power outlets and USB cords to charge mobile devices. Attackers can exploit USB chargers by loading malware onto them that infects a device the moment it’s plugged in.
Always be aware of your surroundings; if someone approaches you and offers their USB charging cord, it is best to decline Always travel with your personal USB cords, and plug your charger directly into an electrical socket, rather than a USB port if possible. The easiest place for a scammer to steal or hack your phone is in crowded areas, so never leave your phone or device unattended and only let people you know “borrow” your devices.
SMS and Email Travel Updates — be on guard for travel-related email, text, and social media scams. Attackers may try to steal travelers’ credentials through phishing campaigns that pretend to be an airline, credit card company, or the TSA.
Often, A scammer will send a message telling the recipient that, say, their TSA PreCheck needs to be renewed, but the link in the renewal email leads to a fake site where hackers can accept payment and steal a victim’s personal information. (Although the TSA sends renewal reminder texts and emails, travelers should always go directly to the TSA website for information on their existing accounts.)
Information from cybersecurity app developer Lookout was used in this