Anyone with a computer or mobile device is at risk of being a victim of a data breach. You may be especially vulnerable while traveling, especially for business. Travelers are typically slightly out of their elements and therefore easier targets for hackers. All you need is one email that reveals too much, and your company’s secrets could be discovered, and stolen. Corporate espionage is a booming business, according to the FBI. Each year, spies steal hundreds of billions worth of intellectual property from American businesses. So how can you help preserve your companies’ secrets while traveling? Here are some tips for keeping your data secure: Public Wi-Fi Every time you get excited about free airport or hotel Wi-Fi… hold your breath. These networks are notorious for data breaches. This may especially be the case for international airports and hotels. Notice in the second paragraph of this blog, how we said “American businesses.” Be Weary of In-Flight Social Networks Networks that connect businesses and their employers on flights may sound superb, but they are more dangerous than meets the eye. Virgin Airlines’ “Here on Biz,” uses geolocation technology, to show users if they’re sitting near an acquaintance on their flight. Both Delta and KLM also have similar programs. They’re great for finding social connections, but they’re also great for those trying to find out more about you. If using these apps mean that people can find you on a plane, perhaps a competitor will opt to sit next to you, hoping to capture some information, through casual conversation, or wandering eyes. Strangers Asking Questions This may initially seem obvious, but if it does, stop and think about how many conversations you have with strangers on airplanes, and in airports. Also think about how much you have told them without even realizing it. For example, the woman I sat next to on my flight last night, probably knows as much about me as a monthly brunch buddy. Most people feel uncomfortable withholding information, or lying to strangers. Therefore, we are more likely to inadvertently mention sensitive information about ourselves, our families, and our jobs, without even knowing it. Our intention is not to be the voice of doom, and more often than not, your data will be unharmed during business trips. However, we live in an age of data breaches, and even if we think it won’t happen to us… well, sometimes it does. Anyone can become a target, so be aware of the risks, educate yourself and your employees, and you will be less likely to become the next target.
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