Labor Day: Holiday travel can put you more at risk for cyber hacks

Posted at 6:00 AM, Aug 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 06:44:30-04

Millions of people are expected to hit the highways and catch flights for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. But, during your travels, how much are you opening up the chance for a cyber hack?

“The data that's out there just shows it's happening more than ever,” said Kirsten Hoyt from the College of Information Systems and Technology at the University of Phoenix.

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"People are trying to get into you...your personal information or catch you doing something,” she added.

New data shows two-thirds of us have had our social media hacked. Cybersecurity hacks are up 40 percent in one year. 1.5 million hacks are happening yearly. And traveling makes you more susceptible to all of that.

"We're going off. We're going to have fun. And we kind of let our guard down a little bit,” Hoyt told us.

That includes 70 percent of people feeling confident with public wifi at places like airports or hotels, which Hoyt said is not a good idea. Use your phone's personal hotspot instead. "It's actually safer to use the wifi through the data plan on your phone."

Hoyt also told us it's always a good idea to update your passwords before and even after you travel. "What the research has found is that an 8 character password can be breached in a matter of about 2 hours whereas, if you take your password up to 13 or 14 characters, it takes them two days,” Hoyt explained.

Bluetooth and wifi are the easiest ways to grab your data so, especially at big tourist areas, only use them when you need them.

And if you do lose your device while traveling, Hoyt recommends you figure out ahead of time how to remotely lock your phone or tablet. "It's good to go in and just see what the settings are and what it's capable of so you're prepared in case something happens."

Further data from the new University of Phoenix and Morning Consult poll shows only 54 percent of people lock devices with passwords. That means anyone can pick up and use devices on the other 46 percent.