We all need a vacation after this exhausting, paranoid year. However, before you go to the beach or the mountain, inside or outside Greece, there are many things to keep in mind so as not to let cybercriminals ruin your vacation.
According to blogger Amer Owaida WeLiveSecurity by cybersecurity company ESET these are the 5 + 1 steps you can take to stay away from unexpected e-fraud problems.
1. Counterfeit digital certificates COVID-19
On the occasion of the issuance of the European Digital Certificate COVID-19 introduced by the European Union, cybercriminals took the opportunity to make money by offering fake vaccination documents for sale.
If you have been vaccinated, tested or have recovered from the disease, remember that only the national or regional health authority can issue the confirmation certificate and only there should you request it. Searching for your digital certificate elsewhere can lead to malicious websites looking to "fish" your credentials or infect your devices with malware.
2. Back up and update your devices
Minor setbacks can happen anytime, anywhere, and the chances of that happening while you are enjoying your summer vacation are high. You may drop your phone in the pool… or forget and dive into the sea with the phone in your pocket, or you may forget it in a bar or even have it stolen in the blink of an eye.
Therefore, one of the first things you should do before you start your vacation is to back up all your electronic devices that contain any form of personal or sensitive data.
So, in the event of an unexpected minor setback, you will be covered and have a backup to restore as soon as you replace your device.
In fact, it would be even better to have multiple backups - you could have one in the cloud and another on an external drive.
For those who want an extra level of security, it might be a good idea to encrypt your data. This applies to both your backups and the data you already have on your devices, as if a device is stolen, fraudsters will find it difficult to exploit it.
Last but not least, never forget to install the latest official updates on your devices, as they contain security fixes that help keep your device and your data protected.
3. Protect your devices
Another thing you should never forget is to secure your devices using the built-in security measures such as PINs, passwords, pattern locks or biometric certification measures.
For the sake of convenience and speed, many people often either overlook the screen lock setting for their devices or half-heartedly choose a very simple pattern to lock their screen - eg C, N or P style - or a simple four-digit PIN.
When setting up your phone lock, the best solution would be to use a combination of biometrics, such as a fingerprint or face scan, and a password, or better yet, a passphrase.
The same goes for your laptops.
Also be sure to avoid the common mistakes when creating a password. And to add an extra level of security to your sensitive accounts, you should always use two-factor authentication (2FA).
4. Be careful where you connect!
While traveling, you will probably visit several restaurants, cafes and shops that offer free Wi-Fi that you can use to browse social media or communicate with loved ones at home.
This may seem like a good solution compared to using your plan data, especially if your mobile network provider charges you exorbitant prices for the data you consume abroad.
However, unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots carry risks that could lead to your devices being compromised, malware infested, and your sensitive data being stolen.
But if you have to use a public hotspot, one thing you can do to mitigate the risk is to avoid using any service that handles sensitive data (for example, financial applications) or anything that requires login credentials.
Fortunately, there are several ways to solve this problem.
One of the easiest ways is to buy a data card SIM card from a reputable local mobile carrier that you can use to browse the web while you are abroad.
Another solution is to use a virtual private network (VPN) while you are connected to a public hotspot, so you can browse safely. If you're not sure which VPN to use, you can check out our article that looks at the most commonly used types of VPNs.
5. Use a reliable security solution
It is important to remember that smartphones and tablets are no longer "mere phones" but are personal computing devices that store huge volumes of sensitive data.
Smartphones and tablets are also used to pay bills through banking applications or even for purchases with various e-wallets.
An e-wallet is something to keep in mind, as many people do not like to take their wallet with them and choose to use their phone's NFC payment options whenever possible.
This is why using reliable security software is essential, preferably a fully equipped solution that protects your devices from malware and also protects your online transactions.
6. Share in moderation!
Who hasn't shared endless photos of the beach or the mountain or just a nice restaurant during their vacation or trips abroad?
However, this part of sharing your favorite real-time events and location tracking information can cause problems if a malicious scammer monitors your social media accounts.
If you share enough information, they can locate you and use the geolocation data either to enter your hotel room or to empty your home comfortably while you are away.
What can you do;
• For a start you should probably check out your social media accounts to find out who can see your posts and make sure only the people you select can see them.
• The next step is to turn off location detection. This can be done either by disabling location services or disabling the "include location" option in your camera app: you really do not need to broadcast the exact location you are in all day, every day.
In fact, it would also be wise to check which applications have access to the location settings.
• And to finish, limit the exchange of information to a minimum: do not do it in real time, do not provide more information than necessary, including anything that may imply your location, such as the name or location of a restaurant.
We all need a vacation after this exhausting, paranoid year. However, before you go to the beach or the mountain, you should put your special travel documents in order, make backups, repair and secure your devices, and be careful with the sharing of your data or connection. at any public Wi-Fi hotspot you may come across when trying to connect with your loved ones.
Enjoy the holidays and stay safe!