Every business travel is a beautiful opportunity for people to visit their favorite countries and places. But these events are a fantastic opportunity for every sort of malicious cyber activity, too. Cyber criminals’ wet dream is many people connecting to the same hardware infrastructure, which is outdated in security because of lack of maintenance or cost savings.
Most people going on these trips are in business mode, deprotected. Usually, travelers are targets, but many hacker groups could attack local businesses or host infrastructure, too. Management personnel is wealthy and generate much interest in it as targets for cyber attacks. On the other hand, host infrastructure is a good target for hacktivism because some events have worldwide media coverage. We can imagine what happens if hackers manage to hack the internet access for hosting infrastructure and instead abc.com, they show anti-government slogans. Last but not least, travelers are excellent targets for data steal and botnets creation purposes.
So how can we keep ourselves safe? There are three primary attack vectors which travelers must have in mind. Hardware device-based attacks, data steals, and bank card information steals. The best strategy to prevent hardware-related threats is to carry only a smartphone. Modern smartphones are more capable of computing power and memory than most middle-class notebooks from the beginning of the decade. You don’t need a fully-featured laptop when you travel abroad. Modern smartphones are more than enough for day-to-day activities like chatting, email exchange, document reading. You bring your smartphone everywhere you go, so it is tough for someone to steal it. It provides many wireless ways for data exchange between devices, which decreases the risk of rubber ducky-based attacks. Often, many hotels, venues, cafes offer free wifi access for all the participants in the event. In general, using these wifi spots is a terrible idea. You can use them, but you have to know that hackers can record all the traffic on these devices. They can store all your encrypted user data, passwords, and sessions for later analysis and decryption attempts.
A better strategy is to use 4g mobile connections during your trip. In that case, the hacker must first hack the mobile internet provider connection to store and decrypt your data. Mobile internet providers are tough to hack, and that adds a layer of security to your device. This approach has a nice bonus feature; you can use the same 4g connection for internet access because of the smartphone’s internet sharing feature. I use 4g internet during my travels and hotel stays. In the most paranoid configuration, you bring two phones, one for a 4g connection and one for real work connected via wifi to the first phone. This setup offers a better level of security.
Bank card data stealing is one of the most common cybercrimes. Stealing card data is so easy that hackers steal millions of bank card credentials every day. How to prevent ourselves from these steals? With cash, of course. Cash is the ultimate paying method, never rejected, never tracked, and challenging to steal if stored properly. The average business trip has no more than ten days as a life span. The regular traveler can cover the expenses in cash during this time. However, for more extended stays bringing a considerable amount of money is not a good idea. Storing it is not easy, not to mention that many countries have an upper limit for cash transactions. In this case, carrying crypto tokens would be a fantastic idea. You can find many crypto exchanges and ATMs these days.
In conclusion, when traveling, the most valuable security advice is to stay undercover. Don’t show off yourself, don’t bring jewelry, wear functional but not expensive clothes, limit yourself to low to middle range electronic devices. You can also stay in moderate range hotels, pay in cash, and use an internet connection only when needed. And my last advice to business travelers worldwide – many cybercriminal organizations prepare themselves for your travel; please prepare yourself, too!