So you sit down at a coffee shop in Thailand or Belgium or São Paulo to upload your photos for you next post. You coffee is properly sugared and milked and your tablet passcode is entered.Now you’ve got the Wi-Fi network selected and you’re heading into your Gmail.
Before you get halfway into your coffee, someone has stolen your Amazon credentials, reset your password and ordered some Happy Socks using your credit card.
You’ve been hacked and you’re lucky.
As a travel blogger, your blog is your business. If you’d logged in, your precious photos and the site you’ve spent years building up could have been trashed or infected with malware. All a criminal would need is your username and password—and if your password is weak enough, your username is all that’s needed to take over your site.
In the worst case scenario, the banking credentials lingering in your browser could be used to access your account.
Anyone who gets online – especially through public Wi-Fi – has to take basic precautions when it comes to security. But bloggers have more at risk than most of us.
That’s why we invited about a dozen of the best local travel bloggers we could find to F-Secure headquarters to demonstrate how easy it is to be hacked, if you don’t take basic precautions.
After our Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen explained how easy it is for “white hat” or good guy hackers poke around in the computers of banks and cars, Anssi from the F-Secure labs demonstrated how easy it was to hack from a Gmail account to free Happy Socks on me as I used a tablet.
You could see in the bloggers eyes the realization of how many times they could have been hacked and all of the information their browser could expose about them. And when they learned about the growing threat of ransomware, which could take all of their precious media hostage, I thought some of them might faint.
To put them on the right track, we emphasized the importance of strong passwords, running updated system and security software like SAFE and using a VPN like Freedome every time they connect to an open network.
Do you really want to do your banking over open Wi-Fi in thousands of miles away from home without protection?
It’s a message we hope they’ll spread – along with their beautiful photographs and unique travel advice.