Ways to prevent cyber thefts during the holiday season


During the upcoming year-end holiday season, up to 70% of Bangkokians are expected to travel within Thailand, according to KResearch of Kasikornbank. As travelers prepare their trips, they should be mindful of the need to secure their personal information before getting on the road.

Earlier this year, IBM X-Force reported that the transportation industry has become a lucrative target for cybercriminals and the second most-attacked industry.

Why? The travel and transportation industry is a gold mine for hackers looking for personal data from your passports, payments, travel itineraries, flight manifests, and even schematics of how airplanes are built. In fact, this industry is no stranger to cybersecurity incidents.

It’s the perfect storm for criminals as travelers are often caught dropping their guards, opting for convenience over security in daily activities including fast-charging devices, making purchases online, posting on social media, among others.

Given all these data, it’s critical that travelers protect their personal information.

A recent survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of IBM Security found:
· Travelers make risky choices for convenience: 7 in 10 respondents admit that they have connected to public Wi-Fi, charged a device using a public USB station, or enabled auto-connect on their devices, thus putting their personal information at risk.

  • Travelers lack confidence in protecting data: Only 25% of respondents say they are very or totally confident of their abilities to protect themselves from cybercrime while traveling.

Meanwhile, IBM Security has provided guidelines on how to safeguard your personal data against cyber-thefts during the travel season:

  • Monitor loyalty rewards: Your loyalty information and rewards are as good as cash to cybercriminals. Travelers should monitor accounts for unusual activity, use strong passwords, set up multifactor authentication where possible.
  • Choose your Wi-Fi with care: It’s easy for cybercriminals to host Wi-Fi networks in public places to collect data, such as credit card information and more. Even legitimate networks hosted by establishments could be liable to digital eavesdropping. Avoid public networks if you can; and consider using a VPN for additional security.
  • Bring a back-up battery: Free USB power charging stations may come with a cost you do not foresee.

Cybercriminals can modify USB connections to download data from your phone or install malware without your knowledge. Instead, bring your own battery bank to recharge your phone or use traditional wall plugs instead of USB ports.

  • Turn off connectivity not in use: If you don’t need it, turn it off. This includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and auto-connecting to networks.
  • Shred your tickets: The little scraps of paper from your tickets, boarding pass, luggage tag, or hotel bills may seem useless and harmless after you have completed your trip, but savvy criminals can gather a lot of information about your loyalty rewards programme from them. Be sure to save them until you can shred the seemingly useless papers.
  • Be smart when paying: Don’t use your debit card at stores or restaurants that lack security measures to protect their point-of-sale systems. If you use an ATM, select one inside a bank branch or inside an airport, where the likelihood of tampering or a skimmer attached to the ATM is less.

Taking sometime to safeguard your sensitive information will ensure a happy holiday season, free of worries.

IBM Security contributed this article.
Source: ThailandToday.co