Corporate travelers constitute the ideal target for hackers – whether employed by rival companies or simply freelance operators trying to get their hands on company secrets – because the data they carry is often not well protected.
Considering the value of the information stored on your mobile device (laptop, tablet, smartphone and etc.), it is instrumental to warrant its safety by employing effective security protocols. In the following guide, we plan to detail a few of the mistakes business travelers often commit on their trips, as well as a few extra measures to implement in order to shield your company’s data from the prying eyes of hackers.
Update your OS and apply all the security patches prior to the trip
Every application on your mobile device, but particularly your operating system, that isn’t updated or doesn’t contain the latest security patches constitutes a vulnerability that a skilled hacker is able to exploit. With this in mind, you shouldn’t forgo the step of updating every single app on the device, irrespective of how insignificant it seems, even when you’re in a hurry. Applying the patches should be performed via a secured network to avoid backdoor malicious software or Trojans from hijacking your system. Now is also a good time to install antivirus software and a firewall and update them.
Don’t connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks
The risk of becoming a victim of a cyber crime that can result in stolen personal information, passwords or the download of malicious software under the guise of updates outweighs the benefits of free internet. IC3 warns corporate travelers that connecting to an unsecured network and worse, clicking on any pop-ups that appear while on those networks, could pose dire consequences for your data. Fake Wi-Fi hotspots are constantly being set up by hackers, and thousands of unsuspecting people fall prey to them every day. Without a VPN, stay clear of any free Wi-Fi network you don’t know.
Adopt a personal VPN
Speaking of VPNs, they represent the modern fortresses of internet networks, in the sense that they are nearly impregnable to all but the highest skilled hackers. VPNs or Virtual Private Networks are readily available nowadays and a must-have for corporate travelers who require constant access to the online medium, but don’t want to risk compromising their company or personal details. Since all traffic is required to bypass a secure encryption before going into or out of your device, VPNs are the most secure way to connect to unknown and unsecured networks.
Keep the data on your device’s storage encrypted
Encryption software is the second layer of defense against hacking attempts, providing that somehow the cyber criminal has managed to skirt the VPN. In essence, while the data was stolen, it is virtually unusable until the encryption code is broken, and that could take months or years to crack. Experts advise encrypting the full content of your mobile device’s storage, for good measure.
Equip your device with tracking software
Tracking software isn’t going to protect you from unwanted access to your device’s drive, but rather help you locate it in case it’s physically stolen. The principle behind these programs is relatively simple: it will utilize the available network connections to alert you and the authorities regarding the current location of the device.
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