You can't go on vacation without following these 7 safety tips

Holidays are one of the most desired times of the year. Being able to clear our heads on the beach or in the mountains or touring countries and cities that we wanted to know helps to recharge our batteries. However, cybercriminals are also rubbing their hands at this season in which we lower our arms a bit in terms of cybersecurity.

To put us on notice, Ruth García, cybersecurity technician for citizens of the National Institute of Cybersecurity (INCIBE), has reviewed in El País a series of basic tips when traveling or having more free time . You know, “prevention is better than cure”.

You can't go on vacation without following these 7 safety tips

Beware of rentals

Rental scams are not new, but the different ways of hiring have sharpened ingenuity and new ways to scam staff. There are many apps and websites for trustworthy vacation rentals, but someone undesirable can always sneak in and leave you without accommodation… and without money.

alquilar apartamento

vacation rentals

“There have been situations where someone had rented an apartment and, when they arrived at the place, the building or even the street did not exist. It is recommended to search for the address on Google Maps to check if at least the area is urbanized or, even if they have given you the name and surname of the person who is going to rent you, you can also search for information about that person to see if they exist.

Do not trust if they use excuses such as that they cannot show you the apartment because you are abroad, if the landlord seems to say yes automatically to any type of proposal (bots) or if they ask for advance payments or transfers abroad.

Do not connect to public WiFi networks

Although this is still a minor problem thanks to the increase in mobile data bonuses (especially with summer promotions) or directly with the use of infinite gigabytes, there are still those who usually connect to a WiFi network as soon as they see a free connection without think about the consequences.

WiFi pública

Public Wi-Fi

“If we connect to a Wi-Fi network whose configuration and the people who are connected are unknown to us, the risks are exponential. In principle, no one has to be using it for malicious purposes, but this risk can never be ruled out. We recommend connecting to public Wi-Fi networks only in case of extreme need or to carry out actions in which there is no exchange of personal information, not to upload our photos or do online procedures such as purchases.

Do not upload photos with excess information

With the importance that social networks have acquired, you may already be thinking that you are going to take a photo here and another there, so that everyone can see that you are enjoying that trip that you have been waiting for months. However, what your photos say about you can be dangerous.

“A photo not only shows the landscape or a dish, it often informs whether we are at home or not, if we are accompanied, the lifestyle we lead, if we have a high purchasing power… We already know that crime tends to increase during vacation periods, taking advantage of the fact that many people are not at home, and the networks can be a very useful information channel for them. Although it may not seem relevant to us, for someone who wants to harm us it can be.”

Activate double verification

Although you should have already done it in any other holiday period, do not forget to activate the double verification or the double authentication factor. As we can make use of our credentials in networks outside the home and in external networks corresponding to the vacation accommodation, any additional security factor can help.

verificacion en dos pasos 2fa

Two-Step Verification

The double authentication factor (2FA) will be of great help as you need the code received via SMS as an additional step. This way, even if your email or social network password is stolen, we’ll have the last step to prevent the login.

Change your passwords frequently

Related to the previous point, to prevent the password from being stolen, the recommendations of the authorities that fight against cybercrime is that it be changed approximately every 3 months.

Remember to use a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters and rely on numbers and symbols to strengthen its robustness. If you don’t remember, or even if you have a privileged memory, use a password manager, because the extra layers of security that these solutions have make them more impenetrable than loose passwords.

“It is good practice to take advantage of this time to change passwords. To memorize all of them, they can resort to mnemonic rules or simply use a password manager that works with a master password and, therefore, they only have to memorize that one”.

Beware of QR codes

Especially after the pandemic, establishments that have opted for QR codes to avoid having the menu at hand have multiplied. Despite its usefulness, there are several dangers that we could fall into if we are not very careful when reading a QR code. Since, at first, it will seem like a normal code, the problem occurs when we scan it with the smartphone camera.

Lector códigos QR

scan QR

If we scan a QR that a cybercriminal has placed, we can fall into three different types of fraud. They can introduce some type of virus in the device that has read the code, steal passwords or obtain other types of data stored in the terminal.

Be careful with SMS

Although it is not exclusive to the summer season, in recent months more identity theft situations have emerged in which cybercriminals pose as all kinds of companies, mainly Post Office/messengers and banks to steal personal information or bank details and payment cards.

“There has been an increase in cases of impersonation of banking entities by SMS (a crime known as smishing ), with many affected users and a great impact. Banks are alerting customers, but you have to be very careful. In case of any doubt about the legitimacy of the message, go to the official channels and even directly to a branch”