Fraud & Security Tips

Tips for Staying Cyber Secure on Your Summer Vacation

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    • Jeff Weeks

      Sr. Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer
      Jun 04 2024

Tips for Staying Cyber Secure on Your Summer Vacation

Author: Jeff Weeks, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer

As summer vacation season approaches, it’s important to remember that cybersecurity doesn’t take a holiday. Here are some tips and tricks to help you stay cyber secure while enjoying your time off.

1. Be Cautious of Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, making it easy for hackers to intercept your data. Avoid accessing sensitive information, such as your bank account, while connected to a public network.

2. Protect Your Devices

Ensure all your devices are password-protected. This makes it more difficult for someone to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.

3. Update Your Software

Before you leave on vacation, make sure all your devices are running the latest software versions. Updates often include security patches that protect against known vulnerabilities.

4. Be Wary of Social Media

Sharing too much information about your vacation on social media can make you an easy target for burglars. Consider waiting until you return home to post about your trip.

5. Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help protect your data when you’re browsing the internet on a public network. It encrypts your data, making it much harder for others to access.

6. Back Up Your Data

Before you leave, back up the data on your devices. If your device is lost or stolen, you’ll still have access to your files.

7. Monitor Your Accounts

Keep an eye on your bank and credit card accounts for any suspicious activity. If you see something strange, report it immediately.

8. QR Codes

QR codes are becoming more popular as a convenient way to pay for parking, access information, or redeem coupons. However, they can also pose security risks if not used carefully. Here are some cyber tips on how to use QR codes safely while on vacation:

  • Only scan QR codes from trusted sources. Trusted sources include official parking signs or parking attendants. Malicious QR codes can direct your device to a phishing website or download malware. If the QR code appears to be a sticker, don’t use it. Type the website into the browser on your phone instead.
  • QR codes in restaurants, parks, and museums. Many restaurants, parks, museums, and other businesses offer the convenience of scanning a QR code to look at a menu, book a hotel room, or read documentation about art or historical places. It’s important to exercise caution before scanning these QR codes or entering information on the linked website.
  • Be cautious of shortened URLs: QR codes often use shortened URLs, which can make it difficult to determine the destination website. Be cautious when scanning QR codes with shortened URLs and consider using a URL expander to check the full URL before visiting the site.
  • Check the URL before entering any personal information. Make sure the URL of the website you are directed to is legitimate and secure (it should begin with https). Look for spelling errors or other signs that the website may not be legitimate.
  • Use a QR scanner app with security features. Some QR scanner apps have built-in security features that can check the safety of the website the QR code directs you to.
  • Use a secure payment method. When paying for parking or other services through a QR code, use a secure payment method such as a credit card or a mobile payment app. Avoid entering sensitive information such as your bank account number.

By following these recommendations, you can enjoy the convenience of QR codes without compromising your security.

Remember, a little preparation can go a long way in protecting your digital information while you’re on vacation. You can learn more about cybersecurity in our Security Center.

Stay safe and enjoy your summer!

About the Author
Jeff has been with First National Bank of Omaha for more than 25 years and is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer. The executive leadership and oversight provided by Jeff in the development, management, and execution of information security for FNBO enables the company’s ability to posture and protect private, personal information, and assets of the company’s clients, employees, and business partners.

The articles in this blog are for informational purposes only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations. When making decisions about your financial situation, consult a financial professional for advice. Articles are not regularly updated, and information may become outdated.