The Transportation Security Administration is in the midst of its busiest travel year on record, says Mark Howell, TSA spokesman, and the Thanksgiving holidays should be no exception. While that’s good for airlines, it can create cybersecurity problems for passengers.
“More people in airports using public Wi-Fi means that hackers have more targets,” says Michael Nowatkowski, an associate professor with the Augusta University School of Computer and Cyber Sciences who also serves as a senior research fellow for the Army Cyber Institute. “If people don’t take precautions, they could become victims. Business travelers should be even more cautious because they could give away their company’s confidential information.”
He offers several ways for travels to protect themselves:
- Apply software updates, which may include security updates, to your devices while connected to your home network.
- Always use origin operating systems on your devices.
- Download and update anti-virus and anti-malware programs on all devices you will bring on your travels.
- Make sure the network is legitimate before connecting to public Wi-Fi.
- Only use public Wi-Fi for activities that do not involve sensitive or personal information such as reading the news or checking the weather.
- Never use public Wi-Fi for bank transactions, purchases or bill payments.
- Never update your devices while connected to public Wi-Fi.
- Make sure you turn off your devices’ Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, file sharing and air drop.
Safe – and secure – travels.