Photo credit: iStock/Jasmina007
If you’re heading overseas this popular vacation month, don’t underestimate the risks of your smartphone, tablet or other portable devices being hacked…even when visiting countries not typically associated with cybercrime.
True, the U.S. leads all popular vacation destinations in overall mobile threats, where hacking of files and data on hand-held devices occurs about 5 million times per year, according to Keeper Security, a Chicago-based password manager firm. (Previous research by Symantec, which makes Norton antivirus products, indicates the riskiest American cities are Seattle, Boston, Washington, San Francisco and Raleigh).
The United Kingdom is a distance second with 2 million threats, followed by Spain (1.7 million), France (700,000), Poland (475,000), Canada and Italy (400,000 each), Portugal (375,000), the Netherlands (320,000) and Greece (75,000).
But considering our nation’s population, use of mobile devices and availability of public WiFi, only about 1.5 percent of Americans and tourists are victimized – putting us solidly in the middle of the “at-risk” pack. With those factors in the mix, Spain reigns, followed by Portugal and the United Kingdom; each has a population-based mobile hacking rate at least twice as high of ours, according to Just About Travel – a U.K. based website. The Netherlands ranks number 4 with a nearly 2 percent gotcha rate, and following the U.S. at number 5 are Poland, Canada, France and Greece.
What about China, India, Brazil and Russia, which along with America, claim the world’s highest rate of smartphone use? Mobile threats are less likely to occur within those countries, says Keeper CEO Darren Guccione, because they are not as prosperous as the U.S or U.K. (and cyber-crooks prefer to follow the money). Meanwhile, language barriers make Japan, Germany and other countries less attractive targets, he tells the Fraud Watch Network.
No matter your destination, some additional advice to prevent mobile threats beyond these must-know strategies for on-the-road online security:
Take charge when you recharge. Don’t charge your devices with anything other than your own chargers plugged directly into the wall or into your adapter. “It’s easy for cyber thieves to install malware onto hotel and other public docking stations,” notes Guccione. “And never connect any USB drive or other removable media that you don’t personally own.”
Avoid “house” computers. Crooks can (and do) install malware on machines made available to the public at libraries, hotels and other businesses. If you do use them, don’t utilize them for tasks where you need to supply log-in or financial credentials such as online shopping, online banking or other sensitive accounts, or even your personal email.
Pack new passwords with your passport. Before leaving, change log-in credentials and passwords for all mobile device apps; with a password manager, you won’t have to remember them. “When doing this, use two-factor authentication if possible,” adds Guccione. Passwords should be no less than eight characters, with a combination of nonsensical letters, numbers, and symbols. “And don’t use the same PIN for hotel room safes that you use for your device password.
Don’t take a vacation from vigilance. Most travelers won’t consider not using portable devices on vacation, and when using them, don’t even consider if a WiFi connection is secure. Follow these tips to detect potentially problematic public WiFi when abroad or even at the local coffee shop.
For information about other scams, sign up for the Fraud Watch Network. You’ll receive free email alerts with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud, and keep tabs of scams and law enforcement alerts in your area at our Scam-Tracking Map.
For the fifth consecutive year, The NonProfit Times (NPT) is honoring CEO Jo Ann Jenkins as one of their “Power & Influence Top 50.”
The annual list honors non-profit executives and strategists who have distinguished themselves as “initiators of concepts that will have legs and are already having impact.”
According to NPT, “the 2017 honorees were selected from a group of about 300 top executives. A committee of NPT staff, contributors and a few executives plugged in to executive movement were involved in the selection process.”
In addition, Jenkins has been added to the NPT’s Power & Influence Hall of Fame. She, along with the other 49 honorees, will be honored at the gala’s 20th Anniversary Gala next month at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Nowadays, you’re lucky to find a publication that really gets you. Millennial women have Buzzfeed and Refinery 29 and Boomer women have AARP The Magazine. But for the Gen X Woman, the search may not be easy.
To reach this overlooked population of women; AARP recently announced the launch of “The Girlfriend,” a new sassy and savvy digital publication for today’s 40-plus woman. The free weekly newsletter will feature short and snappy essays, which cover everything from pop culture and the hottest health tips to battling divorce and leadership lessons from the mother of dragons.
The Girlfriend puts a new spin on things and attracts a younger audience compared to AARP’s traditional 50-plus audience. The e-newsletter will bring readers stories, quizzes and videos about relationships, money, lifestyle, pop culture and health.
“We were looking for something different and wanted to appeal to a population we didn’t see other publications speaking directly to. We created The Girlfriend to fill the void in communication and better serve today’s 40-plus woman,” said Myrna Blyth, Senior Vice President and Editorial Director, AARP Media.
The Girlfriend Editor-in-Chief, Shelley Emling says, “each week we feature a True Confessions video; it’s like sitting with your girlfriend over a glass of wine and she is telling you her deepest, darkest secret.”
Emling’s personal favorites are the first-person essays and the True Confessions videos, “I love it when women get real with each other and aren’t afraid to show their vulnerability,” she said. Emling also urges readers to submit true confessions videos and share stories about their real life best friends.
Readers can find The Girlfriend’s unique and empowering content on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. With a strong reader response within the first week of the launch, the e-newsletter could spread to Pinterest and even Snapchat in the future.
Whether it’s a shoulder to cry on, a laugh over #toomuchwine or navigating the next chapter of your life, make sure you join the conversation because The Girlfriend’s got your back.
In response to Tuesday’s Senate vote on the motion to proceed to consider a health care bill that would cut Medicare and Medicaid and impose an Age Tax on older Americans, AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond released the following statement:
“AARP is disheartened that a majority of Senators voted to move forward on a bill that would devastate millions of Americans. Today’s vote means the Senate is one step closer to passing legislation that will price gouge people over age 50 and strip health insurance from tens of millions of Americans.
“AARP will continue fighting to stop the Senate from passing any bill that increases costs, imposes an Age Tax, strips coverage from people, cuts Medicare, and cuts the Medicaid services seniors need to stay in their homes.
“Any Senator considering voting for the health care bill should understand the consequences of ignoring AARP’s 38 million members. People over age 50 overwhelmingly vote and they will remember who voted to give them a $13,000 premium hike. AARP will print every Senator’s vote in AARP Bulletin, a publication read by 30.4 million people.
“None of the current bills is the right way to fix health care. AARP stands ready to work with Congress on bipartisan solutions that will lower costs and improve care.”
To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.