If you’re ahead of the game, you’ve packed sunscreen to protect yourself from harmful UV rays, you’ve ensured your house is locked up and monitored, and you’re traveling with cash/credit cards in a safe place to ensure you’ve secured the funds you need. You’re planning for protection.
So beyond protecting your health, home, and money, what about cyber protection for your personal data and devices?
Expert travelers make this a priority, because their phone, laptop, and tablet are just as important as the items discussed above. These devices contain everything from your personal banking data, treasured photos, and those of us who use our devices for both personal and work needs, confidential company information. You need a plan to protect these as well.
Here’s seven tips for a cyber-safe vacation.
Before you go:
- Update your passwords. Establish a strong passcode with at least 6 numbers or a swipe pattern with a few sharp turns on your lock screen. Set your laptop password with a minimum of 8 characters and a mixture of upper/lower case characters and symbols. Better yet, make it a passphrase or use multi-factor authentication to unlock your device.
- Update your devices. In addition to giving you access to the latest features, updating your device frequently keeps you protected by fixing security flaws.
- Set your lock feature to a short duration. Keep access airtight by requiring the passcode to be reentered frequently.
- Did you book your trip online? Do your research to ensure you are dealing with a reputable and well-known vendor by getting personal referrals and checking references. Always book with tour operators that are accredited in their field and belong to associations that set standards for delivering exemplary service.
On the road:
- Keep public WiFi use to a minimum. Public WiFi is NOT protected by encryption, which means you are at risk while using it. This goes for WiFi at your hotel as well. If you need to find directions, use it briefly. However, you should never make financial transactions on any public WiFi.
- Set your device to ask your permission before connecting to a wireless network.
- Check with your hotel on access to a secure WiFi network.
- Instead, connect to the WiFi via your mobile hotspot or use your phone carrier’s internet connection.
- Be careful of your social media activity. Wait until you get home to post updates or simply don’t share details while traveling. Keep your friends and family informed of your location privately and tell them how to get a hold of you. If you feel the need to post, change your settings to only allow a small group to view your content.
- Finally, always keep your devices close to you. These items are of great value, and theft of these are common everywhere. Your sensitive and personal information is always worth guarding.
These tips are suggestions to be a savvy cyber-safe vacationer. Practice them and keep your awareness up when it comes to the security of your personal data. It’s one of your most precious assets.
Arctic IT, as subsidiary of Doyon, Limited (an Alaska Native Corporation) is a member of the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center (MS-ISAC). This organization’s mission is to increase security awareness for end users.
Here are more resources on staying secure on trips and at home, check them out below to learn more: