As an entrepreneur in any venture, solo or otherwise, we are usually the most valuable target with regards to cybersecurity. If we get breached, we potentially lose our business or cause unintentional damage to our customers.
This fact only gets further amplified as, when we travel a lot, we are more exposed to being exploited by our surroundings and that can cause the best of us to step in a trap.
In this article I’ll cover some of the most common scenarios, and what you can do to prevent them — so that you can focus on delivering value to your customers instead.
Why are we at risk?
While traveling, our mobile devices store and transmit our personal information. Information that could be used to gain further access, to company or customer assets, and cause further damage for ourselves down the line.
While in most cases, we as individuals are not being specifically targeted by hackers. We are indeed susceptible to automated attacks and common tricks, that might lead to another experienced hacker looking at the value they could gain by attacking us (or our immediate network).
We mustn't forget that we, as entrepreneurs, are in most cases the “executives” of our businesses, and even though some may not be big companies, we are connected to a lot of people that could be tricked by someone pretending to be us. That’s why it’s important that we take our precautions.
So what to do about it? How do we avoid stepping into the traps?
A quick google search will find you a ton of tips & tricks on how to avoid this, but I wouldn’t be a real cybersecurity guy without telling you: you’ll never be totally safe.
You can, however, take precautions that will make it a lot less likely for you to be targeted and subsequently hacked, by following the tips below.
Before you travel
Whenever you’re in a location that you trust:
- Backup and remove important data from your devices.
- Double check that your devices are password protected, preferably with a strong password.
- Make sure that your operating systems and software on your devices are up to date.
When you’re on the go
- Don’t leave your devices unattended. It doesn’t take long for a hacker to install malicious software on your device manually.
- Beware of people shoulder surfing you, people looking over your shoulder to obtain your passwords or personal information.
- If you need to access sensitive information, on any kind of WiFi, use a VPN connection. There’s a lot of options out there, and recommending one is beyond this post. Here’s some more information.
An important note on public WiFi
It’s available, it’s semi-easy, and anyone traveling usually checks in with their close ones on departure/arrival.. but is it really that important to check the likes on your Instagram-post this second? Here are a few things to keep in mind when using public WiFi.
- Don’t make online purchases or access your bank accounts
- Turn off your phone’s auto-connect feature, to avoid unintentionally connecting to a bad WiFi
- Try to use an incorrect password for the WiFi, to see if you can get on it anyway. If it works, it’s usually a sign that it’s insecure.
There you have it. While not the most exhilarating topic in history, some of these topics could easily have an entire article on their own.
This is, however, an important element of protecting our own reputation, and in extension our businesses and the safety of our customers.
May your connection(s) be safe.