Cybersecurity on the Holidays
By Carolyn Schrader
Millions of Americans will travel this Thanksgiing season. With restrictions from Covid lifting travel will also probably be up during the entire holiday season.
People are traveling with lots of devices, many of which are could be hacked. There are a number of ways to
reduce a traveler’s cyber security risk while traveling.
Top 15 Tips for Cyber Secure Traveling
1. If you are going to be somewhere with lots of people and where everyone leaves their phones around, add
a screen saver that quickly identifies the device as yours. Reduce the chance of someone
inadvertently walking off with your phone and then it falling into the hands of someone else that tries to
2. Update your software, anti-virus and location app before you go. Better security will be on your phone
with these updates.
3. Leave it behind – don’t even take your business laptop or company-use smartphone if possible. Consider
using temporary devices if you have to work. If you are going somewhere other than to know friends or
family, consider purchasing a temporary smartphone or tablet. Use different passwords than on your
4. Encrypt sensitive data. Leave as much data off your device as you can. Temporary devices for travel-only
use make it easy to just load what you need and encrypt the data that you have to take.
5. Use your cell service instead of Wi-Fi if possible. It is generally safer than Wi-Fi connections.
6. Don’t use public Wi-Fi spots. Lots of hackers use public spots to hack into devices. Don’t disclose on
your device any information you don’t want to be seen or read by an unauthorized person.
7. Don’t use hotel or other public computers. Results of several tests show that these computers
frequently have malware on them. You have no idea who used the device before you and may have added
8. Don’t leave devices in a hotel room. Take them with you or lock them in a hotel safe. If a criminal gains
access to your hotel room, he can add malware in a minute and leave the device in place.
9. Turn your Bluetooth device off when not in use. Some devices allow for automatic connection which
allows other Bluetooth devices to connect to your device without you knowing it.
10. Only charge your devices directly with a connection to an outlet. Don’t risk transferring malware from
an unknown charging station or a computer. Be sure to pack those adapters.
11. Turn off auto location and check-in applications. Don’t make it easy for criminals to easily identify
where you are.
12. Selfies and group photos can be great fun during the holidays. But don’t post your pictures until you
return. Help prevent any lurking criminals from easily tracking you.
13. If you are traveling out of the country, know if that country monitors digital communications by
foreigners. What you say may be a joke in America, but may not be in another country.
14. If you are traveling out of the country, leave your ereader or other device with books and documents at
home. Download only reading material that will not be considered as pornography (even risqué romance
novels fit this definition in some countries), controversial, or political.
15. Change your passwords when you return. If someone did access your devices while you were on
vacation, reduce the potential for later damage by changing passwords.
Relax and enjoy the holidays! Being cyber safe can help reduce your worries.