Summer Travel Cyber Security Tips

Millions of people will travel domestically and internationally through Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and airports around the world this summer. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, travel within the United States will reach pre-pandemic numbers in 2022. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency recommends travelers practice safe and secure cyber activity to prevent cyber-crimes while on vacation. The threat of cyber-crimes can impact anyone at any time. Here are helpful cyber security tips travelers can follow this summer from PHL’s Chief Information Security Officer Damian Oravez:  

Keep Devices Secure 

Good old-fashioned theft may be one of the biggest risks to your digital devices while traveling this summer. Never leave equipment such as laptops, tablets, cell phones, USB drives, and Bluetooth accessories unattended in public spaces. Keep devices secure in environments such as airports, hotels, taxis, and conference centers. When flying, bring mobile devices with you on carry-on luggage, rather than placing them in checked baggage. 

Summer Heat 

Extreme heat can damage mobile devices. Keep devices out of direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Don’t leave them in hot cars. Most devices have overheating alarms and will even shut off automatically if necessary. 

Multi-Factor Authentication 

Enable two-factor authentication to ensure only you have access to your information and accounts. Use it for things like banking and social media and other services that require login. 

Turn off Auto-Connect 

Some devices automatically seek and connect to available wireless networks or Bluetooth. Criminals take advantage of this feature to gain unauthorized access to your device and data. Disable this feature and actively choose the networks you wish to connect to. Consider keeping Bluetooth disabled until needed by one of your devices.     

Watch for Booking Scams 

Be sure to use reputable booking sites when making travel plans. Watch for scams such as those offering free travel giveaways for liking or sharing a page.  

Configure Device Locks 

Make sure your devices such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones are configured with a PIN or password and auto-lock after a period of time. This will protect the data on your device in the event it is lost or stolen. Avoid easy to guess PIN numbers and consider using a minimum of 6 digits. 

Unprotected WiFi 

When possible, avoid using open WiFi networks. If necessary, use it for basic browsing and avoid entering sensitive data such as credit cards and banking information and stick to websites that use HTTPS. Consider using a personal hotspot instead. 

Summer Activities 

Many summertime activities are famous for claiming mobile phones and accessories, if careless. Roller coasters, kayaking, lakes, and many outdoor activities are common places where a simple slip of the fingers can relegate your mobile device or wireless headphones to the bottom of a lake or attraction. Keep close tabs on your devices when having fun! 

Sand and Mobile Devices 

Dirt and sand can harm devices. They are small and can get into the tiny spaces on your phone for power, speakers and other accessories.  Consider a protective cover when heading to the beach. Wrap devices in towels to protect from sun and water.       


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Christine Ottow
Director of Strategic Communications
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Heather Redfern
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