Cyberattacks: How business travellers can mitigate the risks

What possible cyberattacks could happen on business travel trips? 

Business travellers are particularly susceptible to cybercrime due to their reliance on mobile devices and unsecured networks. These are just some of the risks business travellers face while on the road – potentially in airports, hotels, restaurants or any public setting.

  • Access to sensitive and confidential information.
  • Malware attacks.
  • Installation of spyware.
  • Phishing.
  • Ransomware.
  • Password attacks.

Mitigating cybercrime risks on work trips

The advice below is taken from various sources, including International SOS, security companies and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Before trips

  • If you think you might need to download an app, say for an airline or rideshare, download it while you’re at home. Only download through Apple or Google stores.
  • Update any operating or security software so it’s the most up to date.
  • If you haven’t already, enable login protection such as multi-factor or two-factor authentication for any app or service that requires a login.
  • Back up your information to another device or the cloud, in case you have to reset your device to factory settings.
  • Be aware border officials may legally demand to inspect your devices or its contents at the border; you may want to travel without sensitive or confidential information with you.
  • Pack charging packs if you’re worried about your battery going.

While on trip

  • If border officials do inspect your device – immediately tell your IT and security departments.
  • Do not use USB charging stations – they expose you to higher risk.
  • Be hyper aware of who can see what you’re working on – from looking over your shoulder to working in a hotel lobby.
  • Keep your devices in your eyesight – try not to leave unattended in taxis, hotel rooms or on flights.
  • Be very careful what you click – if an email doesn’t look right or you aren’t sure then don’t respond or click. Report to your IT team.
  • Avoid sharing your location on social media, such as checking in on Facebook. Criminals will instantly know you aren’t at home or in your hotel.
  • Turn off the fitness tracking apps if you can – they are detailing your every movement.
  • Disable auto-connecting to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth networks to limit your exposure to attacks.
  • If you need to access work documents while on a trip, use a VPN and try not to connect to public Wi-Fi networks including those at airports, hotels and cafes. If you must, then make sure it’s one with a password and is legitimate – ask staff if you aren’t sure.
  • Turn off Bluetooth unless necessary – it connects to signals from all directions.

After trip

  • If you’re worried your equipment or login has been compromised – talk to your IT team.
  • Assume any device screened at border control has been exploited.


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