Top 7 Security Tips for the Holidays
Whenever the summer holidays and festival seasons come around, you want to ensure you’re connected to those travel and social media tools. But despite all of that, it’s always important that you’re aware of the many risks that exist, such as these cyber criminals, who are keen to acquire your financial and personal information.
Whenever you travel, like most people tend to do during the festive period, you’re digital security risks tend to increase. However, all it takes are a few simple steps to reduce this risk while out travelling for the holidays.
Whenever you opt to travel with family, especially if children will be there also, entertainment becomes a must. Android has an option which they call Screen Pinning, when enabled, from the Security menu in the phones Settings option, it allows the owner of the phone to restrict access to certain applications.
iOS has their own similar feature which they call Guided Access, this feature can be turned on from the Accessibility Settings. Such a feature will prevent any accidents from occurring while on holiday, such as one of your children deleting important mobile data.
Travelling during the holiday period can leave your mobile device at risk of data theft and physical harm. Enabling disc encryption and turning the device off completely, before you arrive at any transport centers and border crossings, should help minimise any risk of data theft.
With that said, here are some security tips you can implement to safeguard your travels:
- Update Your Passwords
If you use any passwords for your devices, be sure to update them. Passwords are the first line of defence in protecting your data. You should always go with strong passwords, mixing letters, numbers and special characters together.
- Hazardous Hotspots
Whenever you’re out and about, whether at a train station, airport or coffee shop, you should be aware that there are fake internet hotspots. Statistics show that SSIDs with the name FreePublicWiFi are used around 10 percent of the time, in the most travelled locations. Most of them are travellers, like you, who foolishly attempt to connect to these fake hotspots in the past. But a few of them may actually be cybercriminals looking to steal personal login data. So you should definitely avoid using enticing WiFi networks that appear too good at first sight.
- Use a VPN
VPN come in handy, even for those who do not use WiFi. Through the use of VPN, your data is automatically encrypted; this protects your data even before you enter a network. The VPN is basically a secure exchange of data between your device and the internet.
Note that, VPN service providers tend to vary, so you’ll want to ensure that you use one that is trustworthy, as some of the worst services provide little to no benefit to the end user when connecting to a hotspot, in fact, it could may things worse, leaving your device vulnerable to malicious files.
Make sure you carry out your own research to ensure that the VPN service that you settle on is trustworthy. One thing for you to consider when travelling, is whether the VPN client is able to prevent data from leaving the device before the secure encryption tunnel has been created. With such a feature, you can be sure that all your sensitive data will be safe from exposure to hackers.
- Encrypt Your Device
This is quite similar to PIN protection, encrypting the data on your device adds an additional layer of protection to your personal data, to safeguard it against any mishaps in the future.
- Social Network Phishing
Whether it’s Instagram or Facebook, most people who use these social media services, will take to them while on holiday. Unfortunately, many of these sites are slowly becoming a hotbed for phishing, especially with the more targeted attacks. Did an old friend really send you that invitation? Think before you decide to accept, and never give personal information to new friends that you really don’t know.
- Safeguard Your Laptop
Somewhere between the airports to the cab to the hotel, thousands of travellers will lose their laptops, phones and PDAs during the holiday. New York’s LaGuardia airport was said to have accumulated in excess of 60,000 mobile devices. So make sure, before you leave an area or vehicle that you take a mental check of everything, just to ensure that everything you own is still in your possession. Better yet, you may want to consider registering your smartphones and laptops with location services that way, you can, at the very least kill the device or locate it, in the event that you leave it behind.
- Back Up Your Data
It’s extremely important that all your data is backed up, on a regularly basis, at that. Ideally, you’ll want to back your information up to a separate location from the device. Data stored on a cloud, for example, tends to be more secure than data stored on another third-party device, as it removes the risk of a breach or loss.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website www.compuchenna.co.uk.