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Going on a Road Trip? Vacation? Be "cyber safe" - What to Know Before You Go

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Blog topics:  Archive

Wally WorldBy Chetrice Mosley Romero

Beginning today, more than 37 million Americans are expected to drive, fly or catch a train during the five-day Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA.

As part of this annual kickoff to summer, Friday is National Road Trip Day. Created in 2019, Pilot Flying J -- the largest travel center operator in North America -- is credited with creating this "holiday" as a way to provide people with the essentials of food, drinks and fuel; everything they'll need to get to where they're going.

In getting ready for your trip, when it comes to making sure you follow some important cybersecurity tips, you'll want to keep in mind the advice first shared WAY back in the 1970's for the American Express Card and its travelers' checks and, more recently, featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld -- "Don't Leave Home Without It".

  • For starters, avoid posting on social media that you're leaving town or while you're traveling
    • Criminals can steal your personal and financial information -- not only while you're away, but even after you arrive back home -- by accessing not only your computer router, but also through a host of internet-connected smart devices, such as your thermostat, HVAC system or voice-assisted products (think Siri, Alexa, Google Nest) and more.
    • If a cyber criminal gains access to your social media pages, they can also track your location and use that information to break into your hotel room or know when it is you'll be coming back (potentially increasing the opportunity for identity theft).
    • By staying off social media during your trip, you'll also avoid giving away the location for where you are or even where you're not.
    • Wait until you're back home before sharing any details or photos from your trip.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi and whenever possible, protect yourself by using a VPN connection to prevent others to see what you're looking at while on your laptop or mobile device.
  • Once you arrive at your destination, be sure to never leave your devices unattended in a public space or on any means of transportation
    • By doing so, you'll help prevent unauthorized access, physical theft, or data breaches.
  • For additional cybersecurity tips, check out a recent story from Forbes about nine (more) steps you can take that'll help you stay cybersafe

Along the way, you can also make it easier on finding where it is you are going, as two in five people (42 percent) find travel apps to be especially helpful when planning their vacation, as well as mapping out your stops; it's a great way to save both time and money.

Also, as the opportunity to travel abroad continues to grow again, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers some great cyber-related information you'll appreciate.

So, whether you're Clark Griswold and heading to Walley World for another visit or your trip involves a visit to a beautiful state park or experience the World's Greatest Spectacle in Racing, be sure to arrive (cyber) safe and enjoy!