Blog post

Avoid scoring a cyber security own goal this summer

Created:  15 May 2018
Updated:  16 May 2018
Author:  Sarah L
Part of:  End user technology
Cyber security at the World Cup

This blog signposts to existing advice put together to answer any general questions people may have about using devices while abroad.

It should be read alongside existing FCO Travel Advice and the guidance offered on the ‘Be on the Ball: World Cup 2018’ website.

Cyber security is now an important part of our lives so, if you are travelling to the FIFA™ World Cup in Russia this summer, it's understandable that you may be thinking about how best to secure your devices and key accounts.

This blog provides some quick and easy steps to improve your personal cyber security. It should be read alongside the FCO Travel Advice and the guidance offered on the Be on the Ball: World Cup 2018 website.

Attending any sporting event and travelling overseas is an exciting experience and many of you will have been planning your trip for months. But it's important to take a few moments to think about simple actions you can take to keep your essential personal devices (phones, tablets, laptops) and accounts safe while abroad.

Firstly, ask yourself how many personal devices you need to take with you. Do you need to take a laptop, tablet and a mobile phone? If you lost your device, or someone stole it, what information and personal data would you lose? Could someone steal photos, videos, emails, banking details or other important information on these devices? How important are these things to you, and is it worth the risk of losing them?

Before we give you some basic tips to consider ahead of the World Cup, here are two links you should find useful:

Here are the basic cyber security tips that you should consider for your trip:

Before travelling

  • Check with your network operator whether your technology will work abroad and what costs are involved. It may be safer and cheaper to buy a pay-as-you-go phone
  • Make sure all your software and apps are up to date. If you are taking a laptop then make sure your antivirus is turned on
  • Turn on the ability to wipe your phone should it become lost. Ideally, back up all your data and photos before you travel
  • Make sure your devices are password/passcode protected and use other security features, such as fingerprint recognition. Passwords/passcodes should be unique for each account and device
  • Many email and social media providers offer two-factor authentication. You should turn this on for important accounts; it makes it harder for other people to access your accounts
  • Never download apps from unofficial providers, either in the UK or abroad. Unofficial app stores cannot be trusted; there is no way of knowing if the app is genuine
  • Your normal streaming services (e.g. BBC iPlayer and Netflix) and online stores (e.g. iTunes, Google Play) might not work abroad. You should download films and books before you go. Do not use unofficial streaming sites as they might be untrustworthy

While abroad

  • Public and hotel Wi-Fi connections may not be safe; carefully consider what information you might be sharing when using these connections. Avoid internet banking abroad and implement the guidance above for all other accounts
  • Stay alert when using devices and don’t share your phone, laptop or USBs with anyone. Be cautious with any IT related gifts such as USB sticks. It is safer to not plug them in and to discretely dispose of them
  • Keep your devices with you at all times if possible rather than leave them unattended. Hotel rooms, safes and lockers are not always secure because other people may have access codes or keys

Finally, and importantly, have a wonderful time and enjoy yourself at the tournament!

Sarah L
Deputy Director, Economy & Society Team

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