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How to stay safe online while you are traveling

Most business owners need to travel from time to time. And many of them need to connect to the Internet while they are traveling, because they need to access company data, have VoIP-based conference calls, and so on.

conference calls


Still, while people are on the go, the risk of getting their devices infected grows exponentially. For starters, they aren’t protected from intruders by the solid hardware and software solutions that they’ve implemented for the company network. So, what can we do to minimize the risk of getting a company laptop infected with spyware or any other sorts of malware? Read on to discover several key tips.

Begin by ensuring that your portable devices, be them laptops, tablets or cell phones, have antivirus protection, and that the virus database definitions are up to date. While many people know that PCs and Macs are vulnerable to malware, most of them treat mobile devices differently. It is true that the number of malware apps that have been built for mobile devices is less than 10% in comparison with their desktop-based counterparts, but the percentage is constantly growing, and mobile devices are used for business-related purposes in larger and larger numbers.

So, you should make sure that the company’s iOS and Android-based tablets and phones are scanned regularly. It’s true that both operating systems have Linux-based kernels, but this doesn’t make them much more secure. In addition to this, many cyber criminals create malware that can determine the device’s operating system, and the loads the appropriate version of spyware/virus/etc.

Don’t click links that may lead to infected websites. Don’t open email attachments, even if they appear to come from people you know and trust. Hackers will often get your friends’ email account user/pass information, and then log into their accounts, sending infected emails to every person in their address book. Also, don’t visit random sites while you are away from the office; some of them may be infected, and thus upload, install and then run malware on your device without you knowing about it.

Always utilize a VPN service while you are traveling. It’s a cheap investment which can be of great help, especially if you must connect to a free Wi-Fi hotspot while you are on the go. Virtual private networks will encrypt network traffic, routing it through a server that belongs to the VPN provider. This means that your data will be kept private, as long and the provider doesn’t log it. So, it makes sense to read the VPN providers’ data collection/privacy statements before starting to use their services.

These days everyone owns a mobile phone, so it is really easy to use a two-factor authentication security mechanism. Most popular websites have already implemented 2FA services, so be sure to use them – at least while you are traveling. This way, even if a hacker manages to discover the password for one of your accounts, he won’t be able to log into it, because it misses the SMS code that needs to be used in conjunction with the pass.

Don’t forget to ensure that your devices are password-protected as well. It makes no sense to utilize all sorts of data encryption solutions if your laptop or phone utilize a weak four-digit password. Always choose biometric features to log into your devices (if they are available) or at least set up complex, hard to guess passwords.

Ensure that you are only visiting secure websites. Some antiviruses will warn you as soon as you try to access a http-based, and not a https (note the extra "s") website. Always look for the padlock icon in your browser’s URL bar; it it’s there, it means that the risk of having a third party intercept your data is minimal. On the other hand, if the padlock icon is missing, it’s best to avoid accessing that particular site, because a hacker could use a man-in-the-middle attack to steal your data.

As you can see, there are lots of things that can go wrong online while you are traveling. Still, if you follow the tips highlighted above, you should be able to stay out of trouble.

Almost 50% of cyberattacks target small businesses.