Cyber security is unlikely to be front of mind when you’re travelling
for work, whether attending a conference or grabbing a coffee at the local café.
However, numerous security issues can arise in these situations that pose risks
to your devices and the information they hold.
In December 2015, data-mining experts from the
University of Maryland and Virginia Tech co-authored The Global Cyber-Vulnerability Report ranking the vulnerability of 44 nations
to cyberattacks. The most cyber-vulnerable countries were:
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
public Wi-Fi while travelling
Free Wi-Fi is widely available across many countries, but connecting
to it can result in inadvertently sharing confidential information.
Some devices have the ability to auto-connect to publicly
accessible Wi-Fi. Although convenient, this is an easy way to link to a compromised
network, without even knowing it. It’s in your best interests to turn off this
function and consciously choose which networks join. If you’re unsure about who
owns the network, don’t connect to it.
Paying for access to Wi-Fi such as at a hotel doesn’t
automatically mean the network is secure. Avoid accessing medical portals or
entering your bank details when connected. It’s also a good idea to have
“remember my password” unticked when logging into your emails or other software
and online platforms, as this information can make its way to a hackers if the
network is breached.
Creating a Wi-Fi hotspot with your phone is a safer option.
from prying eyes
You may find yourself scrolling through your work emails
while you’re attending a conference or external meeting. However, be conscious
there is a possibility the people sitting around you may also be able to see
If you know the content is confidential or contains sensitive
information, hold off on viewing it until you are away from prying eyes.
Similarly, be mindful of who can see when entering a password.
During breaks at a conference, if you leave your bag or
laptop on your seat, it’s a good idea to lock your devices or in case you
forget, activate the auto lock function.
If you’re carrying around documents on USB when travelling,
purchase an encrypted USB. This makes it tricky for your confidential data to
be accessed if lost or stolen. Also, be conscious that USBs can be infected by
viruses and pose threats to your devices when using someone else’s.
keep in mind when you’re on the go:
- switch off the auto connect function for Wi-Fi and
only connect to networks when you know the owner
- treat all public Wi-Fi as suspicious and navigate the
web and your device accordingly
- don’t view sensitive or confidential information while
accessing public networks or in a public place
- have complex and unique passwords for your different
accounts and online platforms – keep “remember my password” unticked
- make sure you have antivirus and that you update it
- lock your devices when you aren’t using them
- use encrypted USBs and keep them safely in your bag
when you don’t need them.
If you have questions about cyber security, it’s best to
speak to your hospital’s information technology team or practice’s IT advisers.
Share your view
We welcome your feedback on this article – email the Editor at: email@example.com