7 More Cybersecurity Tips for Independent Insurance Agency Travelers this Summer
With the heatwaves hitting us, it’s important to remember to stay cool, hydrated, and cyber safe this summer. Continuing off our previous blog post highlighting the first 8 cybersecurity tips for summer travelers, let’s continue with 7 more things everyone can do to protect themselves and their private data while on vacation.
Why Cyber Security Matters While Traveling
As mentioned in our last post, the need to stay connected to the office is a reality of the digital age for business travelers. But with the constant connectivity from mobile devices such as a phone or laptop comes an increased risk of cyber threats. Whether you’re using a public Wi-Fi network in the lobby or accessing sensitive files from your hotel room, you can expose your company to cyber risks such as malware or ransomware.
Cybercriminals love summer because they understand that people are more likely to let their guard down while on vacation. They know you’re more focused on enjoying your time off than ensuring your devices are secure. This situation makes travelers an attractive target for cybercriminals, who can use a variety of tactics to compromise your data, such as phishing emails, fake websites, and man-in-the-middle attacks.
To minimize the risk of a cyberattack while traveling, here are a few more best practices to cover with your team:
1. Use a VPN and Private Browsing:
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) not only mask your IP address but also encrypt your data, protecting you from cyber threats such as data interception and hacking. Using a VPN while you are searching for hotels or flights, for instance, can help protect against targeted ads from potential scammers who track users’ search history. Simultaneously, private browsing mode, such as Chrome’s Incognito mode or Safari’s Private Browsing, can prevent your browser from storing your search history, cookies, and form data, adding an additional layer of privacy.
2. Limit Usage of Public Wi-Fi:
Public Wi-Fi networks are frequently unsecured, making them hotspots for hackers to steal unencrypted data. By limiting your usage of public Wi-Fi, you reduce your exposure to risks such as Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks, where hackers intercept and potentially alter your communications. For unavoidable instances, use a VPN to create a secure tunnel for your data.
3. Vet Third-Party Sites:
The desire to find the best deals can often lead travelers to lesser-known booking sites. However, not all of these sites are legitimate. Before entering any personal or financial information, ensure the site is secure (the URL should begin with “https://”) and verify its reputation through user reviews or third-party resources like the Better Business Bureau.
4. Secure Your Devices:
Ensure that all your devices, including mobile phones, laptops, and tablets, are updated with the latest security patches. These updates often include fixes for vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit. Using reliable anti-malware software can protect against threats like spyware or ransomware. Moreover, use strong, unique passwords for all your devices and enable biometric security measures, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, where available.
5. Be Wary of ‘Juice Jacking’:
Public charging stations, though convenient, can pose a risk. Hackers can modify these ports to install malware on your devices, a threat known as “juice jacking.” To counter this, carry personal charging cables and portable batteries, and avoid using public USB power charging stations.
Read our previous blog on Juice Jacking here: https://motiva.net/juice-jacking/
6. Secure Payment Methods:
Using secure payment methods like credit cards or well-known online payment services can provide additional layers of security. Credit cards often offer fraud protection, reimbursing you for fraudulent charges. If a website insists on alternative payment methods, such as wire transfers or gift cards, it’s a red flag indicating a potential scam.
7. Inform Your IT Department:
Keeping your IT department informed about your travel plans can be beneficial. They can provide advice tailored to your destination and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity on your accounts. For example, if your work email account is accessed from a location you are not currently in, your IT team can investigate this immediately and take necessary actions.
Expect Cybersecurity-related Claims from Insured Clients
1. Business Email Compromise (BEC):
BEC scams often involve a hacker impersonating a business or its employees, tricking recipients into transferring funds or revealing sensitive information. Providing employees with comprehensive cybersecurity training can help them identify such scams and react appropriately.
2. Malware Installation:
As noted, using public Wi-Fi or shared charging stations can lead to malware installation on your device. Regularly updating devices and using a robust anti-malware solution can help prevent this.
3. Identity Theft:
Clients might report identity theft claims due to sharing their data on fraudulent websites. Comprehensive security practices, such as double-checking the URL and security credentials of the site, not sharing unnecessary personal data, and keeping track of where data is shared, can help mitigate this risk.
4. Fraudulent Transactions:
When your clients make payments through fraudulent platforms, they can lose money and sensitive information. A secure payment procedure with multiple authentication methods can help to prevent this.
5. Data Breach:
Data breaches often occur due to vulnerabilities in a company’s cybersecurity or employee errors. Implementing strong security measures, conducting regular cybersecurity audits, and providing training to employees can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches.
Being vigilant and following these tips can greatly reduce the chances of falling prey to cyber threats while on vacation. Being aware of the possible claims that clients might make can also help in designing better insurance products and services to counter these cyber threats.