It’s officially summertime! And with the combination of pandemic lockdowns and remote work, I know a lot of us have a stockpile of PTO days.
So, do you know what that means? It is time for barbeques, pool parties, and most importantly, vacations.
But here is the deal, hackers are NOT taking time off. Instead, they are using others’ vacation time as their window of opportunity to exploit data.
So, before you catch that plane, put on your cybersecurity hat. To get you started, here is a cybersecurity checklist: vacation addition.
Before you Leave the Office:
Let the IT department know you’ll be out of the office.
Of course, you want to let your team and higher-ups know that you’re going on vacation. But it is also a smart idea to tell the IT department. Your IT team can help you secure your workstation before you leave. Also, if a coworker needs access to your accounts, the IT team can help set up temporary credentials for them.
Set up an out-of-office email.
Don’t put too much information in your OOO email.
Cybercriminals can use information in out-of-office emails to understand when you’ll be away from the office. And that time is golden because it is when your accounts may be more vulnerable.
Instead, your email should only serve as a reminder that you’re away and that you’ll respond when you return.
Also, please don’t send automated responses to unknown senders and email lists.
Secure your workstation.
First, never write down your passwords. And please do NOT leave posted notes of your passwords lying around your workstation.
Also, log out of all devices, as well as websites and applications. Should anyone gain access to your devices, they won’t have a free pass to any sensitive information.
And finally, turn off and unplug every device you won’t be using.
Before your Leave the House:
Finish essential internet tasks before you go.
Vacations should be comfortable and relaxing! Download all the movies, music, and books you’d like to have access to before you leave for your trip.
Shut off devices that are staying at home.
Like securing your workstation, take the time to secure your home devices. If it’s not going on your trip or essential to the home, turn it off.
Let a trusted neighbor know you’ll be gone.
It’s never a bad idea to let a trusted friend know you’ll be away. They can keep a half-eye on your home if there is any suspicious activity.
While on Vacation:
Keep your vacation on the downlow.
Never announce your departure or vacation dates on social networks. By sharing your agenda or location on social media, you are allowing criminals to keep track of where you are.
Post all your pictures after you get back from vacation. If you want to keep your loved ones updated on your whereabouts, we recommend you text them instead of using social media.
Only use password-protected Wi-Fi.
This tip is critical, especially if you’re traveling abroad this summer. Other countries don’t have the same regulations on public Wi-Fi as the US. We wrote a whole blog about the dangers of free Wi-Fi – you can read it here: https://www.mrwsystems.com/is-free-wifi-safe/
If you absolutely must connect to the internet, use a secured network that requires a passcode to use it.
Leave devices in your hotel room’s safe.
This rule should go without saying, but you should not leave devices lying around your hotel. If you’re going out, put your unneeded device in the safe and lock it up.