Cyber security tips for summer travel

When you went on vacation back in the 90’s, your only means of getting online was pretty much Internet cafes. Today, travelers have the convenience of using their own devices to connect to Wi-Fi hot spots throughout the world.

On the plus side, this is much more secure than browsing on a public computer.

Side note: If possible, avoid public computers all costs – most have been proven to be ridden with malware.

On the downside, while public Wi-Fi is very convenient, it’s not secure. Add that to the fact that your mobile phone is…well…mobile and extremely easy to forget at the TSA checkpoint – and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Fortunately, there are a few great ways to minimize your risk and stay cyber secure during summer travel.

1) Always Use a Password or PIN Code to Lock Your Device

Traveling to your summer destination can be stressful – and distracting. “Am I getting off at the right stop, am I going to miss my flight, where do I pick up my luggage?”  You’ve no doubt got a lot on your mind.

It would take an experienced casual thief a matter of seconds to access the private data of an unprotected mobile device. For this reason, take a few moments to set up a PIN code or password on your device. At the very least, this will act as a deterrent for casual thieves.

2) Back Up Your Data Before and After Your Trip

It’s always a good idea to back up your data in case your phone is stolen, dropped in the water or lost on your trip. You can back up your personal data to the cloud, transfer it to an external hard drive, or both!

The important thing here, is that your data lives in a second location, which is crucial if something were to happen to your phone. This is good practice to do after your trip as well – after all, you don’t want to lose those previous vacation photos, do you?

3) Install a Privacy Screen

Admit it – on your last flight, when your seat mate opened their laptop computer and started typing away, you might have had a peek or two at what they were working on. You’re jam packed into a plane in such close proximity, it almost takes effort not to take a look!

This goes both ways and in reality, you never know who you’re sitting next to on a bus, plane, airport, or coffee shop. Installing a privacy screen with the blackout feature “blacks out” side views from prying eyes without restricting your own view, as opposed to simply turning down the brightness of your monitor. This is an easy, almost effortless way to keep prying eyes at bay.

4) Shut Down Auto Location and Check-In Apps

As tempting as it might be to immediately share those gorgeous vacation shots with your friends on Facebook, don’t give in to that urge. Posting photos and using check-in apps are a great way to alert cyber criminals that you’re away from home.

While you might trust your immediate circle of friends, friends of friends might not be so trustworthy. In fact, it’s very common for friends of friends to see your photos once your own friends like and comment on those fabulous pics of yours.

5) Keep Your Devices Safe and Out of Reach

So it turns out that heat, sand and water aren’t so great for electronics. Shocker, right?

Yet, when you’re ready to hit the beach, you’re inevitably going to pack your smartphone. Don’t put your smartphone at risk. Use these tips to keep your smartphone safe at the beach. Here’s how to protect your phone from…

COMMON THIEVES: When you’re ready to hit the beach, don’t hide your smartphone, money and keys in your towel. That’s a dated, not-so-sneaky technique and savvy criminals are onto it. Instead, clean out an old sunscreen bottle and put your phone, money and keys in it for safe keeping at the beach.

WATER AND SAND: If you’ll be anywhere near water, it’s usually a good idea to put your phone in a Ziploc bag or invest in a waterproof case (although they’re not foolproof). If you want to be extra cautious, you can put bits of tape over your phone ports or buy dust plugs to keep bits of sand out of your phone.

EXCESSIVE HEAT

If your plan is to keep your phone in the car to prevent it from getting damaged – think again. On a hot day, the inside of a car can easily surpass 113 degrees – which is the maximum temp iPhones can withstand. If you absolutely need to bring your phone to the beach, hide it in an old sunscreen bottle and keep it under (or inside) a towel in the shade.

Don’t let cyber security risks rain on your summer travel plans this year. In just a few simple steps, you can dramatically lower your risk of theft, compromising your data, and damaging your device.

Bonus Tip: For extra security while traveling, check out these additional cyber security travel tips and put your cyber security fears to rest.

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