By Dennis Jones
The summer season is firmly upon us. And summer means travel, whether you’re hitting the road or just relaxing around town. If you’re like most, you’ll be taking your mobile device on your trip. Hey, you might even need a navigation app to get you where you need to go, unless you’re using a ride sharing app to get to the airport. But even though you might be on vacation, hackers certainly aren’t. So it’s important to travel smart, by remaining as digitally safe over the summer, as you are during the year. And here is how.
- Do your research. If you’re travelling, your vacation doesn’t start on the plane. Now more than ever, vacations start on the internet, as nearly 80 percent of people book their holidays online. In fact, consumers are booking accommodations and airfare on smartphones and tablets in ever greater numbers. With the proliferation of travel sites, it might be difficult to separate the wheat from the scam, so it’s worth researching the site you want to use, before you cough up your credit card information.
- Be leery of bogus apps. If you are downloading a new travel app, be equally cautious and cognizant of the security risks, which include viruses and malware that can shut down your device permanently. Some apps can even steal your personal information, like contact info and passwords. So stick to credible apps, both to book travel and for money exchange.
- Steer clear of free Wi-Fi. It’s no secret that people are using free Wi-Fi. In fact, some surveys show that up to two-thirds of adults in the U.S. have used free Wi-Fi. If that’s not startling enough, nearly 40 percent have used free Wi-Fi to access sensitive information. Using free Wi-Fi to book travel falls squarely in that camp, as you will be inputting credit card and other personal information. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that free Wi-Fi is anything but free. It comes with numerous security risks, especially if you are using it to access sensitive financial information.
- Use a VPN. The best security on any untrusted connection, domestic or abroad, comes from the use of a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs enable you to route your online activity through a secure private network. If you’re remote for business, for instance, you will probably have to use your corporate VPN to access the corporate network. But even if you are not travelling for business, you should consider using a VPN. And iPass offers a last mile VPN to protect data where it’s most vulnerable.
- Use credit, not debit. Debit and credit cards are treated quite differently, in the event that your card information is hacked and purchases are fraudulently made. Fraud protections are significantly stronger for credit cards than for debit cards. Think about it. In the case of credit fraud, the bank is trying to recover their money. In the case of debit fraud, they are trying to recover your money.
Consumers are finding that travel is easier and better with mobile technology. But with mobile technology comes the need for mobile security. Heed our tips and travel smart this summer.