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Before you board your next flight, however, remember that cybercrime is a problem far from being solved. McAfee recently estimated that the annual global cost of all cybercrime exceeds $400 million and a United Nations study found digital theft to affect between 1 and 17% of the online population (as a comparison, physical crime affects less than 5%). Significantly, these stats are based on reported incidents, yet 80% of cybercrime goes unreported.
Airports and hotels are two of cybercrime’s biggest targets, so when planning your next trip, take a moment to protect your digital security:
- Disable auto-configuration so your device does not automatically connect to an open network without your approval.
- Update your device's operating system and security software to the latest versions. Cybercriminals love to exploit old software before it is patched.
- Keep your device with you. Don’t leave your device in your hotel room—not even in the safe—and don’t set your phone on a bar or restaurant table. For additional protection, keep a hand on your device while chatting with your barstool neighbor and make sure your device is password protected. One more tip: Use only your device and not public computers. Cybercriminals know to install keylogging software on accessible computers, allowing them to learn your keystrokes and break the strongest of passwords.
- Only use password-protected public Wi-Fi. Remember that free access points are routinely established with malicious intent. Even when logged into authentic public Wi-Fi, further protect yourself by refraining from sending sensitive information like banking or financial transactions.
- Confirm your hotel’s Wi-Fi network and make sure it is properly secured. Hackers are stealing holidays of their own by creating bogus hotspots with similar or vague names ("Hotel Free Wi-Fi," for example) that show up alongside authentic networks and even installing malware through pop-up windows on hotel networks.
- Use secure browsing. If a URL doesn’t have https://, it isn’t encrypted and shouldn’t be used.
- Use SumRando VPN. Never use public Wi-Fi without a VPN. Our free 1 GB plan will protect your data throughout your holiday travel, whether you’re on Windows or Android.
- Use SumRando messenger to communicate securely with loved ones back home. Our encrypted messenger is free and allows you to chat without worrying about eavesdropping government censors or cybercriminals.
Happy Solstice, Randos!
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