Cyber security while traveling

January 30, 2024 | 4 minute read

Whether you’re a frequent business traveler or take the occasional trip, traveling abroad can make you more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Business travelers are especially at risk because they often carry sensitive data on their devices. In many countries there is no privacy or legal restrictions against technical surveillance. So, when you travel overseas, it’s a good idea to take extra precautions.


Why it matters

Cyber criminals may be trying to steal confidential information by: 


  • Hacking Wi-Fi networks

  • Bluetooth connections

  • Shoulder surfing, i.e., reading your screen or watching your keystrokes

  • Spyware that you unwittingly download by visiting an untrustworthy website or plugging in a corrupted or compromised USB drive

  • Searching your belongings when you’re not watching


Be proactive

  • Only bring devices your company has approved for travel or remove sensitive data (including voicemails) from devices before traveling.

  • Disable remote and automatic connection to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your devices.

  • Avoid all public Wi-Fi networks.

  • Install a virtual private network or VPN, on your devices to encrypt and protect your internet traffic and passwords even when using public Wi-Fi. Note: Banking sites may block VPN access.

  • Stay constantly aware of your surroundings and use privacy screens when you can.

  • Don’t leave your devices unattended; keep them on your person or in a secure location.

  • Protect your devices when using public USB power stations by using power only cables, and never plug an unknown storage device into your laptop or phone.

  • Notify your bank of travel if using debit/credit cards.


If you suspect you have been targeted

  • Don’t delay. Acting quickly after an event can minimize damage to your business.

  • Tell your employer if your work device has been stolen, or if you think your company’s network has been breached.

  • Change all passwords that may have been compromised.

  • Know and follow your local laws and guidelines for cyber incidents.

  • Document everything about the event. The more information you have, the better armed you will be to assist an investigation by your company, your bank and law enforcement officials, and the better prepared you will be against future events. 


The Global Information Security (GIS) team at Bank of America is made up of information security professionals staffing multiple security operations centers across the globe who work 24/7 to keep data and information safe.

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