NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Our smartphones have become essential when traveling – providing a camera, navigation and a way to check restaurant reviews.
But when it comes to international travel, your phone and other devices may be at risk of being hacked.
When you’re traveling overseas, your devices are more exposed to electronic meddling, because you’re in a foreign environment that might offer fewer online protections.
Before the World Cup in Russia last summer, U.S. intelligence officials warned American fans to leave their devices at home to avoid the potential of getting hacked. Experts say Russia and China post the greatest risks, but the exposure can be found in many places.
In fact, roughly 20 percent of travelers are targeted by hackers when overseas.
How does this happen? Public Wi-Fi is probably the most common way. International travelers don’t often have much built-in security.
Shared computers, like those in hotels, pose another risk. If the computer has spyware on it, a hacker can capture any passwords you type.
How can you protect yourself when traveling? Don’t access sensitive data and accounts. Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on your devices and just use cellular networks.
If you’re really concerned, consider using a disposable, or so-called “burner,” phone.
Also be careful about posting your travels on social media while you’re overseas, because it could tip off criminals back home that you’re away.
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