Cybersecurity Practices for Travel

Oh no, my boss is on a cruise and is asking for a change to ACH…

That statement might sound fishy when you read it in this context, but it is a scenario that is all too common. If you’ve been out of the country before, you know cell coverage doesn’t always go with you. When you take real-time context and combine it with a realistic request, it becomes a winning combination for a good scammer. This type of information can make it easy to let your guard down and put your firm at risk. What’s even worse is this is just one of many ways you are at risk while you’re out of office.

As an accountant, you understand the value of protecting sensitive financial information, but have you considered the risks that come with your vacation time? While it’s essential to unwind and recharge, it’s equally crucial to exercise caution in the digital realm. In this article, we’ll walk you through the top security measures you need to implement before, during, and after your vacation. From social engineering attacks to safeguarding your physical documents, stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and protect your assets with ease. So, pack your bags and prepare for a worry-free getaway, armed with the knowledge to keep your financial data and digital life secure.

  • Exercise Caution When Using Autoreply: It may seem like a courtesy to provide information about where you are going and set expectations for people who email you.  Unfortunately, you are giving scammers real-time updates about your location.  Did you know your autoreply can reply to scammers when they send you a phishing email?  If you tell them, you are out of the country or on a cruise, they can use that information against your co-workers to run a social engineering scam.
  • Limit Social Media Sharing: While it’s tempting to share your vacation experiences on social media, exercise caution when posting updates in real time. Broadcasting your absence may alert criminals to the fact that your home is unoccupied, making it an easy target for break-ins. Consider waiting until you return to share your memorable moments.
  • Update and Secure Your Devices: Before you leave, make sure all your devices, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets, are up to date with the latest software patches and security updates. Install reliable security software and enable strong passwords or biometric authentication methods on all your devices. Additionally, consider enabling remote tracking and wiping features on your devices, so you can locate or erase data in case of loss or theft.
  • Secure Your Home Network: Your home network is the gateway to your devices and digital information. Take a few precautions to protect it while you’re away. Change the default password of your Wi-Fi router, ensure that it’s using strong encryption, and disable remote management features. Also, consider configuring a guest network for your visitors instead of giving them access to your primary network.
  • Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi networks are often insecure and susceptible to cyber threats. Avoid accessing sensitive information or logging into accounts that contain personal data while using public Wi-Fi. If you must connect, use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet traffic and protect your online activities from prying eyes.
  • Stay Vigilant Against Phishing Attacks: Cybercriminals take advantage of people’s absence during vacations. Be cautious of phishing attempts through emails, text messages, or social media platforms. Avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments from unknown sources, even if they appear to be urgent or enticing. When in doubt, reach out to the official organization through their verified contact channels to confirm the legitimacy of any requests.
  • Disable Auto-Connect and Bluetooth: Disable auto-connect features on your devices to prevent them from automatically connecting to unknown or unsecured networks. Additionally, turn off Bluetooth when not in use to minimize the risk of unauthorized access or malware infections.
  • Protect Physical Documents and Devices: Not all threats are digital. Protect physical documents, such as passports and travel itineraries, by keeping them in a secure place, like a locked hotel safe. Avoid leaving your devices unattended or visible, both in public areas and hotel rooms, as they can be stolen or compromised.
  • Monitor Financial and Online Accounts: Regularly monitor your bank accounts, credit card statements, and other online accounts for any suspicious activities. Notify your bank or service provider immediately if you notice any unauthorized transactions or unusual behavior.

By following these smart cybersecurity practices and reminders, you can significantly reduce the risks to your digital life while enjoying a worry-free vacation. Stay vigilant, be mindful of your online activities, and prioritize the security of your devices and personal information. Remember, a little precaution can go a long way in ensuring a secure and enjoyable vacation.  If you need help with these practices, consider scheduling a free technology planning workshop with one of our accounting tech specialists. It’s your chance to discover how the right IT services can boost your efficiency, strengthen your security, and contribute significantly to your firm’s success.