Half term is almost upon us. This means one of three things.
1. You’ve booked some time off, and you’re looking forward to a break.
2. You’ve booked some time off, but you’re already looking forward to the end of the break.
3. Or you’ll be continuing as normal, albeit with a little less traffic of the vehicle and email variety.
If it’s the first of these, and you’re going away somewhere, we’ve canvassed a few good tips from our cyber partners to make sure that your holiday doesn’t turn into a business disaster. Because holidays are the time when many people let their guard down, and make it easy for criminals. So here’s a quick checklist of things to do, and not do.
Take your own cable and chargers. Public charging points are all well and good, but the cable that you use to charge your phone works for other purposes too. Cybercriminals have been known to hijack public points and infect mobile devices. So use an electric, rather than a USB point.
Second, when you’re on the internet, please use something called a virtual private network (VPN) whenever you connect to public wifi. It’ll encrypt your data before it’s sent. Otherwise, your communications can be easily seen by those with the right knowhow, often including your private login details. Although SWCRC doesn’t directly recommend products, you can find inexpensive and even free VPN providers yourself with a little bit of research.
An obvious one: but just be aware that others can see you too? Make sure that your confidential data isn’t on display, and that passwords are hidden when you input them. So-called shoulder surfing is a technique particularly employed in crowded places, when you’re less aware of who is around you. Don’t work on confidential documents in public, and – of course! – make sure that your passwords are backed up by a second form of authentication, like a fingerprint or an authenticator app.
And to end with the obvious… try to avoid posting where you are all over your social media feeds. We know that it’s tempting, when Bognor Regis is at its most Instagram-friendly on a scorching day. But if others know you’re away, not only are your physical premises less secure, it’s a great starting point for email scams. Because we can all find your work colleagues through LinkedIn and company websites. “Hi Dave, sending this through from my personal account whilst on the beach. Forgot to pay an urgent invoice. Can you have a word with accounts for me?”
Follow these few tips and it might just save you an unwanted headache or two. Leaving you plenty of chance to get your headaches elsewhere. (Depending on whether your break involves a four year old, or a late bar).