No one likes sitting around and waiting in an airport, but unless you plan on purchasing a private jet, there’s generally no way around it. The best thing you can do is pass the time by keeping your brain occupied, and chances are, your laptop, tablet, or smartphone will come to the rescue. While these devices might help alleviate your boredom, your privacy could be at risk. Cybercriminals often linger around airports looking for innocent people to hack and steal their data. In order to help you understand what the dangers are, and how to keep yourself safe, I consulted the security experts at Norton by Symantec. Here’s what you need to know:
Before You Leave
1. Turn off Bluetooth and File Sharing.
If you plan on renting a car, Bluetooth technology is a great way to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes focused on the road. However, when you’re in a busy airport, there’s really no need for Bluetooth or File Sharing to be turned on.
2. Only join trusted networks.
Airports or cafes sometimes offer free WiFi, but oftentimes cybercriminals will create phony (but believable) network names to lure you in.
3. Learn your phone’s Electronic Serial Number (ESN).
An ESN can help track your phone in case you lose it. You also can download apps such as “Find my iPhone” to discover the location of your lost phone.
4. Reset your passwords.
“Password123″ is not going to cut it. It doesn’t take a genius to guess an easy password — make sure to use special characters, a combination of capital and lowercase letters, and numbers.
5. Back up your files.
You never know if your device will get lost or stolen, especially if you stay in an unfamiliar territory.
6. Speak with your children.
First educate yourself on the dangers of cybercriminals, and then sit down with your kids and let them know how to be safe as well.
What to Do in the Airport
1. Avoid financial transactions.
If you can, pay all of your bills in advance. Avoid logging into bank accounts or credit card accounts (unless you’ve been hacked and need to check).
2. Watch over your shoulder.
Airports are crowded, so it’s likely that a stranger will be sitting next to you at some point. Not everyone is a cybercriminal, but you should still make sure to keep your devices covered if you enter any personal information. Consider purchasing a privacy screen for your laptop, tablet, or smartphone for extra safety.
3. Be careful about the information you post.
You might feel compelled to respond to work emails, share the details of your trip on Facebook, or text your family about your hotel information while at the airport — and that might be okay — just make sure not to send anything that you wouldn’t want a stranger to read.
How Norton by Symantec Can Keep You Safe
Norton Mobile Security
- Sets off an alarm if a device goes missing.
- Pinpoints your lost or stolen device on a map. You can remotely lock it until you safely pick it up.
- If your smartphone or tablet can’t be found, you can wipe away your data.
- Allows you to take a photo of anyone using your missing device!
- Instantly locks your phone if the SIM card is removed (no one is getting a free phone from you!).
- Keeps your personal information away from cybercriminals.
- Blocks unwanted calls and text messages.
- Scans apps for malware or privacy risks.
- Uses a powerful firewall to prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to any of your personal data (passwords, contact information, photos, and more) stored on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
- Blocks phishing sites (in other words, counterfeit sites that pose as the real websites you’re actually trying to visit).
- Protects you from viruses, spam, and other unwanted malware from invading your devices.
- Allows you to move protection from one device to another and lets you add more protection as you get more devices.
- Easily locates lost or stolen smartphones and tablets.
- 100% Antivirus Guarantee — they’re confident in their software and know that it works. It’s the kind of assurance that you can’t get from free software.
Norton Security with Backup
- Offers all of the features from Norton Security.
- 25 GB worth of backup is saved to their secure online storage. So, if your device gets lost, stolen, or broken, all of your most important files will be salvaged.
Jessica Dolnick sets up many of the merchants that you see on We-Care.com, and through extensive research and personal experiences, writes about them in the We-Care blog. Jessica has always been passionate about the nonprofit sector–before working at We-Care.com, she organized benefit concerts, volunteered at her local hospital, and raised over $50,000 for her alma mater. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in psychology and communication and a minor in education from the University at Albany.