Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Staying Safe Online While On-the-Go this Holiday Season

Santa Hacker 

For most Americans, the holidays are a time for traveling to see loved ones near and far. Whether you are traveling by plane, train, or automobile, chances are you will have at least one connected device in tow. Mobile devices have become an almost essential tool for us all as we travel. We use them to help us navigate a new city, to board a plane with mobile boarding passes, and to share photos of our trip on social media. 

However, for as often as Americans rely on their mobile devices, most are not thinking about the risks associated with connected devices nearly enough. This holiday season, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is urging everyone to keep their cybersecurity at the top of their list as they use their phones, tablets, and other connected devices while on the go. Below are simple ways to better protect yourself online and avoid cybercrime while you are traveling. 

  • Avoid free Wi-Fi networks. Though convenient, free Wi-Fi networks – like in some airports, hotels, train stations or caf├ęs – are often used by cybercriminals to access your online accounts and personal information. Before connecting, confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. Never conduct sensitive activities, such as online shopping, banking, or sensitive work, using a public wireless network.
  • Lock down your login. Always opt to enable strong authentication when available, especially for accounts with sensitive information including your email or bank accounts. A strong authentication helps verify a user has authorized access to an online account. For example, it could be a one-time PIN texted to a mobile device, providing an added layer of security beyond the password. The White House recently launched the “Lock Down Your Login” campaign to encourage all Americans to enable stronger authentication. Visit www.lockdownyourlogin.com for more information.
  • Guard your mobile device. To prevent theft and unauthorized access or loss of sensitive information, never leave your mobile devices unattended in a public place. Keep your devices secured in taxis, at airports, on airplanes, and in your hotel room.

DHS is committed to helping Americans secure their online lives. Please visit the Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit for more online safety resources including the Cybersecurity While Traveling Tip Card, Mobile Security Tip Card, and Best Practices for Using Public Wi-F- Tip Card. For more information, please visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect

Guest Blog Post From The Department of Homeland Security’s Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign

TSA Week in Review December 12th - 18th

Firearms Discovered in Carry-On Bags.
TSA discovered 66 firearms last week in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 66 firearms discovered, 61 were loaded and 24 had a round chambered. All of the firearms pictured were discovered last week. See a complete list below.
(L-R) Key Knives (ROA), Switchblade (ATL), Butterfly Knife (OAK), Brass Knuckle Knife (EWR)
In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly in carry-on bags, our officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, stun guns, small pocketknives and many other prohibited items too numerous to note. 

When packed properly, ammunition can be transported in your checked baggage, but it is never permissible to pack ammo in your carry-on bag.

TSA discovered 66 firearms last week in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 66 firearms discovered, 61 were loaded and 24 had a round chambered.
You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $11,000. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions; that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.

*In order to provide a timely weekly update, this data is compiled from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly from what is reported in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will be actual numbers and not estimates.

Read our 2015 Year in Review post! If you haven’t read them yet, make sure you check out our year in review posts for 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram!

Bob Burns
TSA Social Media Team