Security never takes a holiday: 5 tips for cybersecurity on vacation

More people will be enjoying more digital devices on holiday trips this year than ever before, so we’ve rounded up the top tips for protecting your technology on the road, so you can enjoy a safer, less stressful vacation.

While most of us remember to take out travel insurance, many unknowingly take risks with technology while on vacation – leaving gadgets unlocked, or not using basic anti-theft systems.

Our tips should ensure your devices – and your private data – stand a good chance of staying safe, wherever you are.

Back up before you travel

If you’re taking a laptop, be prepared – back up the data on your computer to a hard drive or the cloud before you leave home. This way, you won’t lose everything if your device is stolen or infected with malware.

Lock your gadgets – and keep them locked

Set a password on everything – from PCs to tablets to cellphones. Make sure you have devices set to “time out” when you’re not using them – so thieves can’t get access if they snatch them quickly. Passwords won’t keep out determined attackers – but will significantly slow them. Using one buys you time to locate and recover your device.

Leave thieves empty-handed with remote wipe

Smartphones contain a lot of private data which you wouldn’t want to fall into the wrong hands – thankfully, the data doesn’t have to, even if the device does. Remote Wipe – a feature in Android apps such as ESET Mobile Security - allows you to wipe data remotely, restoring your phone to its factory settings and erasing emails, account details and other private data.

Use anti-theft software to “track” your devices

Anti-theft software is smart – and thieves often aren’t. Activate anti-theft software on phones, tablets and PCs where possible – and get to know how it works before you travel. Getting your stolen device back is not impossible – with anti-theft software allowing you to receive information such as GPS coordinates and webcam images whenever a stolen PC is used to access the internet.

Technology is valuable – don’t show it off

Your hotel has a safe for a reason – keep your devices in there where possible. If you have one of those safes in your room where you get to choose the combination, don’t choose 1-2-3-4 (that’s the first one a thief will try). When you’re on the move, don’t advertise possessions to thieves. For instance, don’t park your car then get out, walk round and put your cellphone and laptop in the trunk.  Put valuables in the trunk before parking at a restaurant – otherwise thieves can see that there’s expensive equipment in there.

Lastly, remember to look up once in a while

All this technology is great – but travelers should be wary of new dangers that arise from going on vacation with too much of it…like tripping over while navigating foreign streets glued to your GPS app (not to mention missing the scenic views because you were fixation by a tiny screen).

Here on We Live Security we have more advice on protecting your data when you travel from Stephen Cobb, and podcasts you can listen to about device theft and how to respond when devices go missing. If you are looking to put security software on all of your family’s digital devices before you head out on vacation, check out this blog post.

Note: If you are on the road and suspect that your Windows laptop is infected, try a free online scan from ESET.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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