Travel warning: online criminals active in tourist centres

G Data warns against data theft and rip-offs during the holiday season

07/12/2010 | Bochum (Germany) 

The summer has arrived  and many Britons are making their last travel preparations. Besides swimsuits and beach mats, ever more travellers take their netbooks and notebooks with them on vacation. However, G Data security expert Eddy Willems advises caution when using unknown WLANs or internet access in hotels and internet cafes, because holiday makers are becoming a more frequent target of cybercriminals.

"Many internet cafe operators take a pass on powerful security solutions in order to save money. Hence, their computers are often highly infected with spyware programs. This way user access data can be recorded and forwarded to the criminals, without the user realizing it," warns Eddy Willems, Security Evangelist of G Data. "Generally, online-purchases by credit card or online banking in internet cafes or via free WLANs is ill-advised. If you do not want to go without your notebook or netbook while on holiday, then you should encrypt the data prior to travelling and additionally create a full backup copy as a safety measure. In that case, the damage resulting from a possible theft will be limited to the value of the computer."


Danger sources: WLANs and LANs in hotels, internet cafes or airports 

  1. Everybody can read your data here, so do not enter any secret information or passwords. Never check your holiday finances via online banking using public (W)LANs or computers.

  2. After surfing from a public terminal (e.g. in an Internet cafe) or a public WLAN, delete the cookies, history and temporary files.
  3. Consider using a UMTS card for mobile surfing. Even though this is more costly, it does offer a safer surfing environment than WLAN access.

Before you travel: create a special email mailbox 

  1. If you want to send holiday greetings when you're on holiday, you should set up an email address, advisably a free mailbox,  especially for this purpose. Should an accident or incident occur, then only this account is compromised. After the holiday, you can unregister the mailbox.

  2. Without fail, you must use different and secure passwords for your email accounts.

Set up virus protection and firewall for when you are travelling

  1. If you normally use your laptop in a home network, you should ensure that the protective shields (virus protection, firewall and browser) are up to date and activated, especially during a holiday. In addition, operating system, plug-ins and other software should be updated to the latest level.

  2. If necessary, create a user profile with limited rights and only use this one when travelling.

Danielle van Leeuwen