Vacation season is here again and millions of American families will be hitting the road to visit favorite spots or see new sights. After being locked up last summer due to covid-19, many Americans are taking to travel with renewed gusto.
If you have yet to finalize vacation plans, U.S. News & World Report has some suggestions for you. The magazine released its 2021-2022 roster of Best Vacation lists in May, ranking everything from best spots on the globe to must-see destinations in the U.S. to specialty regional listings. The publication analyzed 1,100 destinations according to more than 100 criteria to compile the list.
Top U.S. destinations include Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona); Yosemite National Park (California); Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana and Idaho); Maui (Hawaiian islands) and Glacier National Park (Montana). New York City (#6), San Francisco (#7) and New Orleans (#8) were the only major U.S. cities among the top 10 destinations, spots that were virtually ghost towns this time last year due to covid-19.
Wherever you decide to roam this summer, chances are your technology will be going with you and that means cybersecurity should be a priority for any family. Away from home, public Wi-Fi such as what’s offered at hotels, restaurants and coffee shops can keep you connected, but it also presents substantial risks as far as bad actors are concerned. Traveling with children or teenagers can up the risk, since they are generally less security-savvy than adults.
According to the Travel Channel, smart travelers should make sure to change passwords and remove sensitive data from devices such as financial statements. They also warn that good old-fashioned device theft is an often-overlooked hazard, so don’t let your phone, laptop or other device out of your sight while in public places.
Cyber criminals often leverage public Wi-Fi to hack unsuspecting victims, using tactics such as:
- Identity Theft. When a hacker gets access to a connected device on a compromised public Wi-Fi, they have visibility into login credentials, personal data and can even access the victim’s bank account.
- Man-in-The Middle Attacks. This happens when a hacker impersonates a legitimate public Wi-Fi such as the Wi-Fi of a hotel where a victim stays. The victim will be tricked into connecting to the fake Wi-Fi network giving the hacker access to login credentials and other sensitive personal information.
- Unencrypted Connections. When the user connects to a public Wi-Fi, a hacker can intercept the unencrypted information transmitted over the air.
- Eavesdropping. Hackers connected to the same public Wi-Fi as the user can eavesdrop on the information being transmitted using a tool called packet sniffer. Packet sniffers allow hackers to intercept information, including sensitive information such as financial data.
- Malware Distribution. Even if the user does their part to maintain security, public Wi-Fi can be compromised if not protected properly. Hackers can then infect connected devices with malware such as viruses, ransomware and other nasty intrusions.
To help avoid being hacked while on public Wi-Fi, experts recommend consumers take a hard look at the security features of their internet service package. Subscribers to Kinetic Secure Packs get Internet Security On the Go which offers enhanced security features. In addition to giving users the ability to monitor children’s online usage, pause Wi-Fi and block websites at home, the On the Go app further protects each device while outside the home with anti-virus, malware protection, and more.
Having such safeguards in place, along with practicing responsible and safe online usage, can help ensure a summer adventure doesn’t turn into an identity theft nightmare.