"Cyber criminals are currently focusing more and more on holiday hotspots. They lie in wait for users who cannot do without their mobile devices when on holiday or who use public Internet cafés," warns Eddy Willems, G Data Security Evangelist. "The perpetrators exploit inadequately secured WLAN hotspots or manipulate computers in Internet cafes, so they can read all the data traffic and spy on credit card information, passwords and other personal data."
Hence the IT security expert recommends that holidaymakers start securing their smartphone, tablet or notebook before setting off on holiday and exercise caution while they are away – so Holiday Fun 2.0 doesn't end in eCrime frustration. "Before going on holiday, users should review the security of their mobile device and install all available updates. Using an effective security solution is a must."
Furthermore, Willems advises taking precautions in case of theft or loss: "A lot of sensitive data is generally stored on mobile devices, making it all the more irritating if the mobile device ends up in the wrong hands. Users must take precautions against this and equip their tablet or smartphone with theft prevention, enabling the device to be locked remotely and all data stored on it to be deleted if necessary."
Nine expert tips for a safe holiday
Before going away:
- Install security software: Holidaymakers should install an effective, comprehensive security solution on their notebook, smartphone or tablet.
- Make sure software is fully up-to-date: Before going away, the installed operating system and all software used should be brought fully up-to-date. This will help users close security holes that criminals could otherwise exploit for attacks.
- Activate theft protection: Users should take precautions in case the device is lost and install a security solution that includes theft protection. This enables the device to be located and locked remotely and all data stored on it to be deleted. With notebooks, the hard disk should be encrypted, leaving no opportunity for thieves to read the stolen data.
- Set up an email account for holiday greetings: Anyone wanting to send an electronic postcard to friends and family back home should set up a separate email account. In the event of an attack, only this is compromised, and the address can be deleted again when you get home.
- Back up data: Before going away, create a backup copy of all stored data on an external storage medium.
- Note blocking numbers: Holidaymakers should note down the service numbers for their mobile phone operator and credit and EC card providers. In the event of loss, the card, surf stick or mobile device concerned can be blocked immediately.
When on holiday:
- Avoid public WLAN networks: Use of free hotspots at airports, stations and hotels should be avoided where possible as they are often inadequately secured. Holidaymakers should use a UMTS card for mobile surfing instead.
- Take care in Internet cafés: Public computers are generally inadequately secured, so holidaymakers should specifically avoid online banking and shopping on the Internet, and not download or save any personal data. Otherwise criminals can hack this data and use it for illegal purposes.
- Leave pickpockets no opportunity: Ideally mobile devices should never be lent out or placed in the hands of others when on holiday. Users should avoid taking their smartphone, tablet or notebook with them to the hotel pool or beach – thieves are on the lookout for unsuspecting tourists here. If you don't need your mobile device, it should be safely locked away in the hotel safe.