Sea, hack and sun…three pieces of advice for keeping your personal information safe during vacation
The majority of cyber attacks occur through email. In summer, we even see a rise in fraudulent emails regarding vacation offers.
1. Social media is not your friend!
According to a British study and a report from BFMTV.com, 10% of social media users consider themselves to have been victims of theft or other crimes as a result of their posts.
Your life is private, but posting it on social media makes it public. Don’t underestimate the research that hackers are willing to do. They don’t hesitate to use the logos of companies you do business with, and they use similar verbiage to the ones that fill up your mailbox. Even simple photos of your airline tickets are too much of a clue for hackers.
Revealing the dates of your vacation is the same thing as handing over the keys to potential thieves.
Indeed, a hacker can adapt his or her email to the information found on the internet, and the same applies when you announce your upcoming vacation.
The CNIL (National Commission on Information Technology and Freedom) recommends extreme caution regarding the publication of photos that identify your place of residence while on vacation.
2. An out-of-office message already reveals too much.
Your work email can also be a source of valuable information you don’t want to divulge.
How many of you have set up an out-of-office auto reply for your vacation?
This is the signal that cyber-criminals wait for in order to carry out their attacks, as it’s unusual that a company would replace an employee during his or her vacation.
The out-of-office message is a signal for fraudsters to begin their attacks. For example, a Systems Manager may inadvertently alert someone to a lack of software updates and the fragility of an entire IT system.
3. Don’t work while on vacation!
Straightforward advice…but how many of you feel obligated to check email on your mobile phone “just to take a quick look” or “just to stay in the loop“?
Remember that a phishing attack is three times more successful on a phone than a computer!
The reason is simple: smartphones are not the best tools for checking email, especially work email. Reading them requires attention that we’re not prepared to give while on the go or when we’re outside the workplace.
Being more vigilant when using your mobile phone should no longer be a piece of advice, but an ingrained habit.
4. Public computers and WiFi: kiss your privacy goodbye
If you didn’t already know, take it as an absolute truth: Private sessions on public computers don’t protect you from phishing attempts.
What’s more, these computers are more likely to be infected with keyloggers or other malicious software. Public computers are more likely to harbor viruses. Additionally, cybercafes don’t have as advanced computer security as your company has.
Similarly, connecting to a public WiFi network is just as dangerous. Here, your conversations and communications can be spied upon and recorded, unbeknownst to you. WiFi in hotels and airports are unreliable, and networks are secured at a level that leaves many doors open for potential hackers.
Do’s et Dont’s before and during vacation
But don’t let this article ruin your vacation! From our editor’s office, we’ll leave you with these few tips to make the most of your annual (and well-deserved) vacation:
- Know how to block and geolocate your mobile phone in case of loss or theft.
- Create a specific email address for your vacation to avoid giving your personal email when you arrive at the hotel or book your leisure activities.
Remember that your email address is an integral part of what is known as your digital identity!
- Be vague in your out-of-office messages: it’s better to not say enough than to say too much!
- Make backup copies of information and documents before leaving on vacation.
- Are you a business? You can prevent your employees from accessing your company network from an unidentified computer or public connection. It’s up to you to adopt these measures.
- Avoid exposing your vacation on social media even if you’re eager to do so!
- You can also use a VPN on your smartphone! And it’s not that expensive: some cost just 4€ per month!
As with your computer, this system encrypts your communications, providing you with additional security.