Cyber checks for Olympic visitors

Travelers making their way to Beijing this August for the Olympic Games should keep an eye out for cybercriminals looking to exploit poor Internet user habits, warns security firm.

Cybercriminals will be on the look out to exploit tourists in Beijing, China, this August for the Olympic Games, particularly those who have poor security and Internet habits, cautioned Trend Micro.

In a statement issued Monday, the security vendor warned that malicious hackers are increasingly using global events to target unsuspecting tourists who use laptops, mobile phones and smartphones.

Eric Chong, Trend Micro's regional marketing director for Asia-Pacific, said in the statement: "Tourists visiting China must be particularly cautious as a global event such as the Olympic Games will attract cybercriminals who wish to capitalize on poor Internet security and bad Internet habits." He added that these malicious hackers can use malware such as trojans, to steal a person's digital identity and personal information such as credit card and identity card numbers, via the Internet.

"It is up to each individual to take responsibility for their safety when online," Chong added.

Trend Micro recommended three approaches users can adopt to ensure they are protected, or what it described as "mild, medium or heavy" security strategies:

"Mild" security

  • Use removable storage media to store critical data.
  • All data including information stored on removable media should be backed up.
  • Before leaving on the trip, ensure that all firewall applications, intrusion-detection systems and antivirus applications are updated.
  • Any equipment that is not needed or not in use should be turned off.

"Medium" security

  • Documents should be duplicates, not originals.
  • Use encryption to protect critical data.
  • Because wireless capabilities allow malicious hackers to penetrate hard drives, travelers should no longer assume that data is safe even if it is on a hard drive.
  • Digital devices should never be left unattended in hotel rooms. Laptops or other hardware should be locked in a hotel or room safe.
  • Removable media should be carried.

"Heavy" security

  • Never use a free Internet connection without encryption.
  • Never perform work-related tasks using public Internet kiosks.
  • Change all your passwords when you arrive home.
  • When traveling, deploy a more restricted user account on a laptop, and the regular user account should be suspended until returning home.
  • The temporary account should be "wiped clean" before plugging a laptop into a home or office network.