The holiday season involves a lot of traveling for many people. Whether we are coming back home for holidays to spend them with our families, or we are just going on vacation for Christmas, we find ourselves traveling more than usual.
Our mobile devices are our best companions when we’re moving around. They help us kill some boredom, keep in touch with our loved ones or just stay connected and check our e-mails. But when we are away from our secure internet connections, we are more vulnerable to cybercrime. Our home or office networks are usually safe and well secured, which is not the case for random public WiFi or other available networks accessible on the road.
Here are some tips on how to keep your mobile devices protected when you are traveling:
- Disable your location info. If you don’t need your navigation when you are traveling, turn off your location. There are a lot of apps that use it in order to track you down or tag you in certain locations, but giving it away, you risk letting online thieves know that your home is unguarded and ready to be looted. This advice also applies to your social media updates. Try not to brag about your trips and post updates from every spot you’re in. You should also turn off your Bluetooth and WiFi whenever you don’t need them. Radios are always searching for these kind of networks to connect to and they can also find out your location. Your battery will also drain a lot faster with them always on.
- Be careful what kind of networks you are using to get online. Avoid as much as possible public WiFi and use your cellular data network instead. If you really have to use WiFi, try to use a VPN (virtual private network) too
- Perform a backup of all your information before you leave. This is an important precaution measure in case you lose your smartphone
- Enable a PIN or password on your device and make sure it is a strong, impenetrable one. This way, in case your phone is stolen, the thief won’t have access to your private data. You should also use biometric identification (like fingerprint)
- Update your OS and apps. Updates usually ensure that you get the latest security patches, so that you won’t be vulnerable to attacks due to outdated apps or operating system
- If possible, buy yourself a ‘travel only’ phone that you’ll only use when you are away from home. Keep it as empty and simple as possible and only use it to connect to the Internet or make necessary calls. Don’t save any private information on it
- Enable your ‘find my device/phone’ feature. This way, should you lose your phone, you can use this function to help you track down its location
- Last but not least, be more careful and alert when you are on the road. Try to always keep your phone on you, don’t leave it unwatched. Also, try not to loan it to any strangers for phone calls or other reasons, because they might prove to be just scammers.