A good vacation is always about the sand, sun and drinks with small umbrellas. However, cyber criminals have completely changed vacations and made them into something else entirely.

A recent FBI report revealed that cyber criminals are now using pop-up alerts transferred through hotel Wi-Fi to infect devices with malware. Nobody wants to deal with issues such as malware, viruses or computer theft on their vacation.

Well, here are some of the top ways to protect your computer when you’re traveling.

Travelling with a computer? Keep safe!

Travelling with a computer? Keep safe!

1. Avoid Updating Your Computer When Using Hotel Wi-Fi

Update your operating system or any software on your computer before hitting the road. Yes, the hotel Wi-Fi might prompt you to update these things but you need to avoid it completely. Note that, by doing so, you’re allowing the cyber criminals into your computer. They can install malware that will monitor every activity on your computer.

Therefore, they could intercept emails and passwords to your financial accounts, send spam for fake pharmaceuticals or porn and also host criminal sites on your computer. Don’t forget that some of the criminals might use the malware to turn on the webcam and record everything going on in the room.

2. Install Antivirus On Your Computer

It isn’t a complete guarantee that you might not get a virus on your computer but it’s one of the best ways to protect your computer. Before hitting the road, make sure that the antivirus software on your computer is up to date and also active for the best protection.

3. Go Ruggedized

A man travelling with his rugged computer

Rugged computers are your best bet when travelling.

A ruggedized computer has a stronger chassis than a normal computer and if you believe your computer is going to be taken to more extreme environments, it could be a good investment. Chassis Plans rugged computers are a fine selection of these devices and you should maybe consider using them.

3. Always Backup All Your Data Before Leaving The House

It’s prudent to back up your data on a hard drive before leaving your house in the event that anything happens to your computer while you’re on vacation. That way, you will not lose any data or important documents when your computer is stolen or infected with a virus.

4. Only Connect To Encrypted Wi-Fi networks (WPA2)

Avoid connecting to open networks but look for those with a WPA2 encryption. It’s easy to identify such networks because they always require a password before connecting. In some cases, you could install software which identifies the networks encrypted with WPA2, WEP or WPA. Whenever in doubt, you should ask the front desk or contact technical support for guidance on a proper connection. If you have no option and desperately need internet, you can always use the networks with a WEP encryption.

Before booking the hotel, you can always inquire whether or not they use a reliable and reputable service provider. Of course, you can check to find out the more reliable internet service providers in the area you’re going on vacation to check whether the hotel uses any of them. In most hotels, the Wi-Fi name is the same of that as the hotel for easy identification and thus it’s tough to know the provider.

Keep in mind that some cyber criminals might create fake wireless connections that appear like the legitimate ones. Therefore, you should always ask the front desk or technical support before connecting to anything. On the other hand, if you’re accessing your company’s network, you should always use a VPN (virtual private network). You can always inquire the IT department how to do this successfully, especially if you’re traveling for business reasons.

5. Always Keep Your Computer Locked

Of course, it seems obvious to keep your computer locked but there have been many incidents of computer thefts while people are on vacation. Keep your computer in the hotel safe if there is one. If you’re traveling with your computer, put it in the trunk of the car before leaving. Of course, when you’re in the restaurant or bar, you should leave the computer in your hotel room to avoid any thefts.