Cybercrime Doesn’t Take a Vacation! How to Protect Yourself This Summer and Beyond.

TJ Hurt, VP, Information Security Officer, Vista Bank 

June 11, 2021

Dallas Weekly

By Kimberly Soukup for Vista Bank

Keeping safe during summer travel goes beyond applying sunscreen, drinking water and packing layers. As tempting as it is to let our guard down (this is vacation after all), remaining vigilant with the technology that is part of our everyday lives has become increasingly important. According to the Washington D.C. think tank, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), along with American cybersecurity firm McAfee, damages from cyber fraud exceed $60 billion annually. Taking steps to protect yourself online will minimize your risk of becoming part of that sobering statistic.

TJ Hurt, VP Information Security Officer at Vista Bank, shares some of his top tips on protecting your data and ultimately yourself. His advice will help not only with pre-trip preparation, but also while enroute, upon arrival, and when you return home. So, Happy Trails…just remember to pack a bag of caution when you go!

Before You Go:

  • Use trusted sites for booking your travel. Utilize secure sites beginning with “https://.” You should also see a padlock symbol in the address bar.
  • Back up your device with a cloud service.
  • Activate the “Find my Device” app on your devices and set your phone to autolock after a few moments of non-use.
  • Consider the use of a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your data when connected to uncertain WIFI access points.

In Transit:

  • Treat your devices like cash and secure them in public places such as airports, hotels and restaurants.
  • Remain vigilant about your surroundings and how and where you use your devices, and the Wifi they are connected to.
  • Need to tackle a little work on-the-go? Or maybe an online game or two to pass the time? Consider using a privacy screen on your laptop to thwart opportunistic thieves who “shoulder surf” to steal information.

While You Are There:

  • Avoid conducting confidential or financial activities such as banking, work, or shopping while using a public wireless network. FYI: Your cell phone’s mobile network connection is more secure than a public wireless network.
  • This may come as a surprise to some, but do not connect to public charging stations. Your data could be stolen via the wires provided. Use your own charging block and cable.
  • Opt out of using public computers in business centers, libraries, and other public establishments. They may not be running the latest operating system or have updated the antivirus software. These computers are often infected with viruses that may steal information from your keystroke activity.

When You Get Home:

  • Immediately change your passwords or PINs that were used while travelling domestically and even more so if you traveled abroad.
  • Update and run all of the anti-virus/anti-malware programs on your devices.
  • Check your financial statements diligently — especially related to credit and debit cards, for any unauthorized transactions.

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