June is National Internet Safety Month, but also heralds the beginning of summer travel season.
Eight in 10 people planned summer getaways in 2016, according to the American Express® Spending & Saving Tracker. As our world becomes more connected, computers and other smart devices are playing a larger role in the travel planning process, with Americans spending 8.7 billion minutes per month interacting with digital content and consumers making 148.3 million bookings online last year.
Along with packing your bags and setting your itinerary, remember to take steps to help better protect your personal information and devices before you head out this summer. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has developed a CyberTrip Advisor to help travelers have safer, more secure getaways.
Here are some recommendations before you set off:
— Lock down your login: Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media. Get ready for your trip by fortifying your online accounts and enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device.
— Keep a clean machine: Before you leave town, it’s important to make sure all security and critical software, especially any antivirus protection, is up to date on your devices, and keep devices and apps updated during travel. It is your best line of defense.
— Make sure all devices are password protected: Bolt your digital doors and be sure to use a passcode or security feature (like a fingerprint) to lock your mobile device.
— Own your online presence: Not everyone has to know about your travel escapades and summer fun: set the privacy and security preferences on web services, social media and devices to your comfort level for sharing.
— Turn off your autoconnect: Stop your smartphone and Bluetooth from connecting to available wireless networks.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggests backing up your information – including contacts, photos, videos and other mobile device data –before you depart. You can store this information on another device or in the cloud.
For more help preparing for your summer travel – and recommendations for while you’re on the road – see our CyberTrip Advisor (LINK). And visit the National Cyber Security Alliance website for free cybersecurity, online safety and privacy advice and resources year-round.
Kara Wright is Director of Digital Strategy for the National Cyber Security Alliance.
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