As the temperatures heat up and the school year draws to a close, families are taking off for summer vacation. With quarantine measures relaxing worldwide, an exotic getaway is just a ticket away. Whether you’ll be travelling domestically or internationally, use these tips to keep your information secure while on the go.
Before Your Trip
- Confirm your devices contain the latest software update. Software updates are pushed out automatically on mobile devices and computers. Avoid delaying these updates as they may include security improvements to keep your device protected.
- Secure all accounts and access to devices with strong passwords. For an extra layer of security, consider using Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
- Back up any important data. If a device is lost or stolen, data may be easily recoverable if it’s been backed up.
During Your Trip
- Store devices securely. Store devices in hotel safes or on your person when not in use. If you decide to carry your valuables with you, consider using anti-theft bags to deter pickpockets.
- Avoid public USB charging stations. While unlikely, an inherent risk of USB charging stations is the potential for “juice-jacking.” Like credit card skimmers on ATMs, these scams often happen unknowingly. When a USB is inserted into an infected USB port, malware can be delivered straight to your device. To reduce your risk, opt to charge your devices via traditional AC power outlet wherever possible.
- Exercise discretion when using public Wi-Fi. No one likes to rack up international data roaming fees. When using public Wi-Fi, be mindful of the type of data you are transmitting while on a public network. If you are expecting to access sensitive data on your device, consider having a VPN installed so information remains encrypted.
- Opt for contactless payment. Non-bank or remote ATMs are prone to tampering and, subsequently, identity theft. Stores may also experience data breaches that can leave your credit card information up for grabs. Mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay use a process known as tokenization, which ensures your credit card information and identity is not shared with merchants and may only be seen by the payment processor and your financial institution.
- Be mindful of social media usage. Consider posting about a trip after its conclusion. It may not be a good idea to let everyone know your home is unoccupied for a prolonged period of time. Additionally, avoid posting pictures of passports or boarding passes, as these contain sensitive personal data.
CalPERS is invested in ensuring our members have the tools they need to protect themselves online. If you would like to learn more on staying secure while traveling, check out the resources below:
- Cybersecurity Tips for International Travelers, via Federal Communications Commission
- Watch Your Debit and Credit Cards: Thieves Get Craftier With Skimmers, via Consumer Reports
Take a moment today to visit the myCalPERS website to update your security settings and ensure we have the best way to contact you in case there’s suspicious activity on your account.