We’re just going to have to disagree

We’re having trouble getting fully behind this year’s list of travel security tips from the good folks over at US-CERT. The US-CERT is a great resource provided by the US Department of Homeland Security and should be a regular source of information for the security professional. They put together an annual list of security recommendations for holiday travelers that has some good advice. Sadly, some of their recommendations don’t take in to consideration the way people operate today.

They are recommending the following measures be taken:

Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to conduct personal business. Open Wi-Fi networks at places such as airports present an opportunity for attackers to intercept sensitive information.

Instead, we recommend that you use a solid VPN service. Many airports don’t provide decent cell coverage, especially those smaller regional airports that serve smaller markets. Any time that you aren’t connected to your own securely managed WiFi network, you should be connecting to a secure VPN service. If you need help selecting one, feel free to contact us!

Turn off Bluetooth when not in use. Cyber criminals have the capability to pair with your device’s open Bluetooth connection and steal personal information.

 If you are an iPhone user, you may find the functionality provided by the Find My app to outweigh the loss of any data that may be on your phone. The Find My app can be used to locate a lost iPhone, securely wipe it’s contents remotely, and to locate other family members and iOS devices. The app relies on Bluetooth beaconing and is considered a security “must-have” for many.

Rather than arbitrarily disabling Bluetooth, we recommend that you be judicious about the Bluetooth connections and privileges granted to the apps you have installed. Keep your phone updated at all times! The most recent versions of iOS prevents applications from automatically having access to Bluetooth and requires manual intervention. Go to Settings > Privacy > Bluetooth and only allow those apps access to Bluetooth that need it.

Be cautious when charging. Avoid connecting your device to any computer or charging station that you do not control, such as a charging station at an airport terminal.

ABSOLUTELY! This has been an issue for a while now and we always recommend that you travel with a couple of good chargers. Travel delays coupled with shorter battery life can leave you without that vital entertainment device communication device and using charging stations is opening yourself to “juice jacking”.

Remember physical security. Do not leave your device unattended in public or easily accessible areas.

Just like your luggage, always ensure you’ve got your devices. We all know that physical access to a device is the easiest way to give someone an easier avenue to break into it. Keep it close, keep it on your person, and always keep it under control!

Enjoy your holidays!