FBI Portland
Portland Media Office
(503) 460-8060
December 17, 2019

Tech Tuesday—Holiday Travels

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. Today: Building a digital defense as you head over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house for the holidays.

The kids are getting out of school this week and you are packing your bags for the big trip to the in-laws. Now is not the time you want to talk about cyber security, but we do have a few travel tips to keep you safe while you are on the go.

  • Don’t allow your phone, computer, tablet, or other devices to auto-connect to a free wireless network while you are away from home. This is an open invitation for bad actors to access your device. They then can load malware, steal your passwords and PINs, or even take remote control of your contacts and camera.
  • If you do need to connect to a public hotspot – such as at an airport or hotel – make sure to confirm the name of the network and the exact login procedures. Your goal is to avoid accidentally connecting to a fraudster’s WiFi that they are trying to make look legit.
  • If you absolutely have to use an unsecured hotspot, avoid doing anything sensitive like accessing your bank account. A hacker would love your user ID and password – don’t give it to them.
  • Related to the above point, using your own secured hotspot from your phone is generally a better option.
  • If you are having guests stay at your home, consider setting up a separate WiFi account for them. That way, if they are running unsecured devices on your network, you can segregate their vulnerabilities from your sensitive data.
  • Disable location services – including those on your social media accounts and in your camera settings – that tell people where you are.
  • Finally, as hard as this may be in a world of oversharing, consider NOT pushing out pictures and posts about your grand adventures. Yes, your kids are adorable and Christmas morning was the best ever – but do you really want to tell the world that you are away from home?

From the FBI family to your family, enjoy your travels and stay safe.

As always, if you have been victimized by a cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov or call your local FBI office.