When you’re in the office, you know the Wi-Fi network you connect to is secure. But, on the go, there’s no guarantee this will be the case. In fact, threat actors are infamous for creating phoney Wi-Fi networks, designed specifically to steal sensitive data or deploy malware onto the victim’s device. These attacks are known as Evil Twin attacks. As well as this, it’s also much easier to lose your device, or a USB stick containing sensitive data, when you’re out and about.
The good news is that, with a few simple steps, you can dramatically reduce the chances of your device and/or data being stolen while travelling.
1. Protect your device and yourself from the worst-case scenario
According to safe.uk, one in six of us have either had a personal item lost or stolen during the work commute. With a few precautions, you can lower the probability of your data on the device being compromised.
First, you should set up your device with a complex PIN or password. If your device offers fingerprint or facial recognition locking, then we advise using this too.
Second, you can also find free, web-based solutions that offer device tracking capabilities, remote locking capabilities and remote data erasure capabilities. These will help you to either recover your device or remove any sensitive data if it can’t be found.
2. Watch out for shoulder surfing
According to the Ponemon Institute, 87% of workers have experienced someone looking at their laptop or mobile while on the morning commute. The most basic way to defend against these attacks is to work with your back against a wall or barrier or to use a privacy screen filter. These thin sheets of plastic are placed over your display interface. They manipulate optics so that only you, sitting directly in front of the screen.
3. Use Wi-Fi with caution
If you plan to connect to a public Wi-Fi network:
- Always use a virtual private network (VPN): VPNs are secure, encrypted network connections. It’s helpful to think of a VPN as a tunnel between you and your company infrastructure. Even if you’re working from a public library or hotel, with a VPN tunnel established, your connection is much more secure and private.
- Make sure your connection is secure: Most websites use the protocol: HTTPS, which you will see in the URL. If you can’t see HTTPS, but your browser shows a lock icon and the word secure, then this also means the website you are visiting is secure.
What if I lose my device?
If your device is lost or stolen, or you feel like your data might have been breached, we advise you to be proactive – . Data breaches are not something to bury one’s head in the sand about. In fact, the ICO tends to give smaller fines to those companies that report incidents quickly.
So, if you’re concerned, we recommend you speak to your company’s IT personnel and let them know about any potential incident. From there, the team can put an incident response plan into action – and hopefully, stop the event before it causes any damage.