Be Aware of Security Threats to Your Data When Overseas
If you travel overseas for business or pleasure, you need to be aware of the attacks your computer and data may come under. The The Internet Crime Complaint Center, ran by the FBI, has issued a warning to overseas travelers to take precautions against viruses and attacks upon their computers and mobile devices. These attacks may record your personal information on your computer or mobile devices. This includes bank information, personal user names and passwords, and any sensitive data stored on your hardrive.
The most common way malware enters a computer or mobile device is by a pop up (which looks authentic) warning that the device is under threat of an attack by a virus. If you click on these pop ups a virus or malware program enters your computer or mobile device and wreaks havoc on your hardrive and data.
Many unsuspecting users have clicked on these fake warnings thinking they are protecting their device, when in fact they are opening up their systems to attack. Too late they discover viruses and their systems crash.
In a recent interview on Reuters, former Scotland Yard computer crime unit detective Steve Santorelli advises anyone with sensitive information on their devices to take extra precautions. He reports that the incidences of cyber attacks are on the rise. Santorelli is now with Team Cymru, an internet security research firm, and advises international travelers to develop a “healthy dose of paranoia” when it comes to the security of their data.
Another concern for international travelers is how other countries monitor the use of the internet. Before the 2008 Olympics in China, the US government warned travellers that the Chinese government could possibly gain access to proprietary informaiton stored on computers and mobile devices. The Chinese government denied such claims, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
If you travel overseas, be very careful where you access the internet. Hotel and cyber cafe connections may not be secure. Keep your anit-virus software up to date, and for the best measure of security employ a high quality Virtual Private Netwok (VPN) to create a secure connection.
You don’t have to forego use of your computer or wi-fi in foreign countries, but you do need to be aware of the security risks and be smart about your internet use, and protect your vaulable data.