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Headed out on vacation this summer? If you haven’t made it yet, you still have some time. Grab your passport, wrangle the kids into the car for a road trip or just head to the beach for a few days to soak in some sun – but not without taking the necessary precautions. Travelers insurance is always handy, sunscreen will protect your skin in the long run and it’s a good idea to know what number to dial to reach the police in whatever country you’re traveling to.

It’s common sense to take these steps to protect yourself, right? Then it should also be common sense to protect yourself in cyberspace this summer. After all, when we travel and have new experiences, our guard is down and our thoughts are on other things, which is the perfect opportunity for a hacker to compromise your online presence, just like a pickpocket trying to get your wallet. Here are a few tips and things you should be aware of in order to reduce your vulnerability.

1. Fake Wi-Fi

Fake news may be all the rage these days, but did you know there is fake Wi-Fi as well? Especially while traveling, you’re likely to connect to every free Wi-Fi access point you can: at airports, cafes or other places of business. Generally speaking, these places do offer legitimate internet connections to their customers and, without password protection, to anyone in the vicinity. But malicious players are well aware, and they’ve thought of ways to take advantage.

Data thieves sometimes set up fake Wi-Fi access points under names similar to nearby businesses and known access points so that users might trust it and log on, believing it to be the proper connection. While browsing with these Wi-Fi connections however, criminals can intercept any data that passes between your device and your social media accounts or even your bank. More sophisticated attacks can even trick your device into automatically connecting, believing it to be a recognized Wi-Fi connection.

Protect yourself by asking the business for the name of their Wi-Fi SSID or installing VPN software onto your device for encrypted connections.

2. Password protection

How many passwords do you have to remember in order to access your online accounts? 10? 50? Maybe more? Whatever your number, most people use at least dozens of different websites that require unique passwords to login. That’s why many people also use the same password for everything, but that means hackers who get your password for one site can then access them all.

Protect yourself by using a password vault so you only need to remember one strong password, using 3-4 different passwords for different kinds of sites and apps, changing your passwords every few weeks and using two-factor authentication whenever and wherever you can.

3. Don’t be the phish

If you’re going fishing this summer, you want to catch fish, not be caught like one – and that means being aware of what’s in your inbox. Attackers try to induce you open malicious emails with alarming subject lines or sending you messages from a friend’s compromised account.

Protect yourself by being on the lookout for suspicious elements in emails. Don’t open emails from unknown individuals you weren’t expecting to receive and watch out for links that may appear to be from well-known domains at first glance like

4. Don’t post just to post

Social media is an amazing tool, but it can also make you vulnerable to dedicated and determined attackers. Avoid posting about your vacation until you get back so others won’t see you’re away and might be vulnerable to attack or even real-life home invasion. Posting personal information on social media could also give ammunition to attackers sending out phishing emails.

Protect yourself by simply being mindful of what you post.

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