Tips for keeping your phone safe from cyber threats while travelling

Tips for keeping your phone safe from cyber threats while travelling

SINGAPORE: Travelling these days is made much easier with technology. But mobile devices could also ruin your vacation, if you become a victim of cybercrime overseas.

Amid the year-end holiday period, cybersecurity agencies, including the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCERT), have issued advisories on securing your devices while travelling.

On its website on Friday (Dec 8), SingCERT recommended the following steps to take:

  • Avoid using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks to access personal information and perform online transactions, as the attackers can intercept sensitive information
  • Turn off your device's Bluetooth when not in use. Hackers can pair with your device's open Bluetooth connection when you are not using it and steal your personal information
  • Watch out for phishing scams. Do not click on the links in any emails that seem suspicious. These emails are designed to trick you to provide your personal information
  • Use reputable and trusted Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access personal information and perform online transactions. A VPN lets you secure your network traffic

The advisory follows a similar one by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT).

It said that open Wi-Fi networks at public places like airports and cafes present an opportunity for attackers to intercept sensitive information that users would provide to complete an online transaction.

"If you simply must check your bank balance or make an online purchase while you are traveling, turn off your device's Wi-Fi connection and use your mobile device's cellular data Internet connection instead of making the transaction over an unsecure Wi-Fi network," said US-CERT.

It also advised against charging mobile devices by connecting to a charging station at an airport terminal or a shared computer at a public place.

"Connecting a mobile device to a computer using a USB cable can allow software running on that computer to interact with the phone in ways that a user may not anticipate. As a result, a malicious computer could gain access to your sensitive data or install new software," said the US agency.

According to the US National Cyber Security Alliance, travellers should also turn off location services when not in use. Devices should be password protected and all security software should be up to date.

Source: CNA