Travelers are being warned not to post pictures of their holiday on social media while they’re away – and to avoid uploading pictures of their boarding passes altogether.
According to a cybersecurity expert, vacation photos can signal criminals that it’s an empty house, while boarding passes contain personal information that can help hackers ruin a vacation, according to a cybersecurity expert NordVPN.
“Even if the image only shows an airline ticket barcode, hackers can scan it and find out information like a traveler’s full name, reservation number, and sometimes even contact information,” says NordVPN’s Adrianus Warmenhoven.
He explains that after scanning the barcode, hackers can use the data to steal money from payment cards, break into a passenger’s airline account, steal their mileage points, change dates for upcoming flights – or cancel them – or even steal his identity.
Warmenhoven says a hacker could call a traveler during their trip by posing as an airline representative and asking for credit card details to confirm a return flight.
Travelers are being warned not to post pictures of their holiday on social media while they’re away – and to avoid uploading pictures of their boarding passes altogether
And cybercriminals could gather more information about their victim on social media and then try to call the airline and pose as the traveler, Warmenhoven warns.
He says boarding pass information and other valuable details found online can help criminals trick even the most secure travel agent or airline into sharing their customers’ information.
He adds: “Once criminals collect this massive amount of data about their victim, they can sell it on the dark web or, even worse, steal the victim’s identity, allowing the hacker to commit fraud, such as opening credit card accounts or making unauthorized purchases.” .’
A safe way to share vacation photos online
“While posting your boarding pass is never secure, there are ways to share your vacation with your followers while staying safe online,” says Warmenhoven.
Here he reveals how…
1. Always post photos after you get back from vacation. It is better not to post photos or information indicating that you are on vacation while you are away. Don’t let your followers know your home is empty.
Holiday photos can signal criminals that it’s an empty house to target
2. Make sure your account settings are set to private. One of the most important pieces of information to know before you post anything online is who you are sharing your information with. Make sure your account settings are set to private and your posts are only visible to your friends, not everyone on the web.
3. Never share personal information on social media. Remove personal information, such as your home address and phone number, from your profile pages, as they are easily accessible there. Don’t do status updates by sharing your location. And never post photos of your passport, plane tickets, or any other document.
4. Be careful with free public wifi. If you ever decide to post something online while abroad, make sure your connection is secure. Cafes, shops and hotels offer unsecured WiFi networks. Users must be extra careful when connecting to these networks as they can easily be monitored. Hackers can position themselves as a WiFi hotspot or use special software to steal data from unprotected networks. One of the best ways to safely use public WiFi is to install a VPN [virtual private network].