As the travel industry grows, so does the risk for security threats. There have been hundreds of data breaches in recent years, particularly within several hotel groups. In this age of technology, travelers and companies alike are becoming increasingly vulnerable. It might feel like there’s no way to protect yourself from these potential threats, but there are measures you can take to keep both you and your information safe. Here are some tips for protecting yourself and avoiding security hacks while traveling for business.
Social media and online photo sharing is now the norm (we see you, millennials). However, it’s important to be careful when sharing any information while traveling. If you share pictures showing off your hotel room, it could have embedded metadata such as your exact location or even who you might be with (which is one of the reasons that travel data is so appealing to attackers and increases the risk of hacking). We know it might be difficult to not post that picture of your sweet balcony with the ocean view, but we believe it’s in your best interest to skip it and avoid any unwanted situations.
Shred your airline ticket
Although most travelers have started using mobile boarding passes, there are those old schoolers who still prefer paper tickets. If you are one of the latter, this one’s for you. Those who don’t give a second thought about throwing away their boarding pass could be at risk for a security breach as it could actually give hackers a lead. Airline tickets contain barcodes that could lead to personally identifiable information (PII). This can give a hacker a direct line to your personal data. The smartest thing to do would be to shred your airline ticket after it’s no longer needed. We know it might be tedious, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. And yes, you have our permission to use this post as a PSA to your grandparents.
Use passphrases over passwords
When creating a password, we recommend using “passphrases” over passwords. Passwords can easily be hacked into, especially if you choose one that you’ve used before. Passphrases are considered anything over fifteen characters and can contain symbols. Passphrases can take years to break, keeping your accounts more secure.
Avoid public WiFi
This is the most common mistake among travelers. A recent IBM security survey found that 70% of travelers still use public WiFi, and anyone using public WiFi is very vulnerable to MITM (man-in-the-middle) attacks. The information transferred is usually unencrypted, so when you connect to public WiFi it’s not just the hotspot that’s public, it’s your data too. A compromised router can take a lot of your personal material such as emails, usernames and passwords. We recommend avoiding public WiFi to uphold your data security.
Be careful with facial recognition
Airlines have started using facial recognition to speed up the boarding process, which can potentially result in increased data breaches. This technology is definitely controversial due to the security risks it presents. With facial recognition technology, hackers are honing in and looking to replicate faces so they can eventually trick the facial recognition system. This is extremely difficult to execute. However, if successful, your “face” could be accessed by third parties which could reveal all your personal information. If you thought someone using photos of your face to catfish others was bad… welcome to the Thunderdome. It’s extremely important to understand this risk before agreeing to use facial recognition technology.
Written By: Lara Severin