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You know the drill: you’re on your way to a business conference or sales presentation (or maybe just sneaking in a few emails on your way out of town for vacation) and there are a thousand things left on your to-do list. The good news is, almost all airports now have public WiFi and many buses, trains – and even cars – are catching on. Broad access to the Internet coupled with a near endless variety of mobility applications and programs make it easy to work on the fly. Unfortunately, cyber security hasn’t fully caught up with the influx of remote work support that the average traveler uses (and abuses). Here are the top three ways you may be putting yourself at risk when traveling and steps to protect your and your company’s data and privacy on the go.

1. Using Public Internet (Such as GOGO Inflight):

Although airport Wifi, GOGO Inflight connections, and hotel internet hookups make working remotely seem effortless, these public networks pose one of the biggest cyber security threats on the market. When we hear stories, such as Steven Petrow’s USA Today article about being hacked while using GOGO internet service, it’s easy to think that something like that could never happen to us. The reality is, it can. Non-secured internet servers are an easy target for hackers and phishers to find and capture sensitive data. While the most secure option would be not to connect over these types of networks, we know that isn’t realistic in today’s world. Our recommendation is to ask your company if they use a VPN (or set up your own), which will help protect and encrypt your data no matter where or when you’re connecting, or even what device you’re using. To learn more about setting up a VPN and other security tools, join us for a Cyber Security Breakfast and Learn on March 29th.

2. Resisting Payment Best Practices:

We know that finding vendors who support virtual payments, such as ApplePay, when you really just need a quick cup of coffee and a newspaper, or remembering to look for credit card chip readers rather than traditional swipe kiosks can feel like a chore. However, this small habit of looking before you swipe can save you time, money, and headache. Gas stations and casinos are the number one places that credit and debit card fraud take place when you swipe your card. When traveling or in a hurry, don’t forget that you may look like a target while filling up at the pump or blowing off some steam after a long day. Encrypted virtual pay methods and chip readers ensure that your credit card number and PIN aren’t exposed to would-be hackers. Using these methods is also noted in every transaction, so if you do see something suspicious on your statement, you and your bank can easily rule out chip or virtual transactions that are definitely yours.

3. Non-Secure Networking Habits:

By non-secure networking habits, we don’t just mean signing in over a public internet connection. We also mean the casual exchange of personal information that often takes place while you’re traveling and networking with new faces. When you get a business card or exchange information, you may be tempted to send a quick note with your contact information over a non-secure POP-based email account or share too much information in an outbound message. Consider using a secure messaging app, such as WICKR (https://wickr.com/how-wickr-works/), when exchanging sensitive company details or personal information. Or, simply go the old fashioned route and write down your contact information or make a note to follow up when you can interact on a secure server.

No matter what business you’re in, hackers may be interested in stealing your information, so don’t resist these easy, effective steps to protect your privacy. And of course, we look forward to sharing more tips and tricks over breakfast (https://www.neoscopeit.com/security-lunch-learn) on March 29.