Are You a Target for Vacation Hacking During Your Timeshare Vacation?
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Are you leaving yourself open to “vacation hacking” during your timeshare vacation and summer travel? Many people are, and they don’t even realize it’s happening.
As you head off to your favorite timeshare resort or other vacation destination, it can be handy to take along your laptop or smartphone. You can keep up with your business and personal emails and your online accounts, but in order to surf safe, you must be selective about where you do it.
A recent FOX News investigation found that travelers and vacationers place themselves at extreme risk for cyberhacking when they fail to use the same levels of internet security they have learned to use on their home computers. Many of the Wi-Fi networks in airports are simply not extremely secure. FOX News studied wireless security in 27 airports, 20 of which were in the US, 2 in Europe, and 5 in Asia. They found that 80 percent of the private Wi-Fi networks in airports surveyed were using Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), a protocol that was hacked over 8 years ago. Even the most inexperienced web hackers may be able to get past WEP.
Other times, the point of exposure is not the airport’s Wi-Fi, but private, peer-to-peer networks that are not official hotspots and are run off someone else’s computer. Cybercriminals understand and exploit this vulnerability among travelers so frequently that the term, “vacation hacking” has been coined to describe the problem. Fake Wi-Fi hotspots abound and the bad guys are just waiting for you to log on, and check your bank balance, pay your Visa card, or buy stocks.
Quoting Symantec, the makers of numerous online security products, the FOX News report offered several suggestions for staying cyber secure when you travel, including this one, that may be the single most important of them all: “Always assume Wi-Fi connections are being eavesdropped on. Never enter sensitive data—Social Security numbers, bank account information, etc—when browsing the Web via a Wi-Fi network.“
Your timeshare vacation should be a time to get away from work and hassles, but don’t let it be a vacation from commonsense practices about internet use. Ask your timeshare about their own security protocol, and as you travel from your home to your timeshare destination, exercise extreme caution about where and how you use the internet.