Before you embark on your transatlantic cruise or jet off on your international vacation, you need to make sure you’ve protected your devices. Don’t let unauthorized users hack your cell phone or laptop while you’re out of town. Strong cyber security helps keep your devices safe from unwanted cyber-attacks.
With solid cyber security, you can even protect your information if the worst were to happen and you lost your device – or it got stolen. Just as you would secure a lock on your suitcase to protect its valuable contents, you want to do the same with your devices before traveling. To keep your personal information and property safe, follow our easy tips for cyber security while traveling.
How to Ensure Your Devices Have Strong Cyber Security Before You Leave
You store personal information on your mobile devices every day. Unless you take precautionary measures to protect your information before you leave, you risk leaving yourself open to a cyber-attack. Take these simple steps prior to your trip to maximize your computer and cell phone security while traveling.
Update Your Devices’ Software While Connected to Your Home Wi-Fi
It’s safer and more convenient to update your apps and software with a strong and safe Wi-Fi connection, rather than risk connecting to an easier-to-breach Wi-Fi at the airport (assuming your home Wi-Fi is password protected). Your computer is also less likely to fall victim to a data breach or a security threat if its cyber security software and apps are up to date.
Protect All of Your Devices with a Hard-to-Crack PIN or Password
If your cell phone requires a PIN, pick the longest option. Avoid using easy-to-guess numbers like your birthday or anniversary. To protect your computer, set up a strong password that isn’t “password123.” Use a variety of upper and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and characters. If your device is stolen on your trip, it will be harder to hack if it’s protected with a strong pin or password.
Back Up Essential Information on an External Hard Drive or a Digital Storage Option
You might use your cell phone or laptop to store banking information, to-do lists, and photos. For peace of mind, ensure these items are saved elsewhere before your trip. If you don’t have a USB on hand, use Apple Cloud Storage, Google Photos, or Dropbox to back up everything digitally.
Disable the Auto-Connect Option on Your Device
While it may be convenient to automatically connect to Wi-Fi during your trip, you risk connecting to a weakly protected Wi-Fi, which could enable a hacker to gain access to your device. This is known as a “man-in-the-middle attack,” when a hacker can read data on your device and see the sites you visit.
Only Pack the Devices You Plan to Use on Your Trip
Purchase travel insurance to cover the devices you decide to bring on your trip. If you’re traveling internationally, that laptop will only make your carry-on more cumbersome. You will most likely still need your cell phone, so prepare it for travel before you leave by following the security tips above.
How to Keep Your Devices Cyber-Safe Once Your Travels Begin
Now that you’re ready for your vacation to begin, that doesn’t mean you can let down your cyber walls just yet. You did most of the work ahead of time, but there are still some cyber security tips to keep in mind during your travels. Take these necessary precautions to keep cyber risks to a minimum.
Only Connect to Secure Wi-Fi in Trusted Locations
Your hotel may be able to provide you with a password-protected Wi-Fi connection, making you less vulnerable to the man-in-the-middle attack mentioned above. If you rely on your cell phone or laptop to research things to do, be sure to take care of this before you leave your room (if you want to avoid using data).
Don’t Make Online Financial Transactions During your Trip
While this may require you to strategically plan ahead, it’s better to take care of all banking and budgeting before you leave. Avoid doing anything that requires you to log your credit card information online. Online shopping can wait until you return home.
Know Where your Devices Are at All Times
If you are exploring a new city or using public transportation, store your cell phone or external hard drive in a secure spot. Avoid placing these items in the outermost pocket of a backpack, where someone could easily reach in and steal them. Keep your personal belongings in your sight on bus, train, and taxi rides.
Invest in a Privacy Screen
These screens are affordable and easy to apply to your device. With a privacy screen, only the person looking straight at the device will be able to tell what it says.
If You Lose your Cell Phone, Don’t Panic
There are several steps you can take to protect a lost phone, from using the Find-My-Phone function to contacting your wireless carrier. The more closely you follow the cyber security travel tips above, the more likely a lost phone won’t ruin your vacation.
How to Maximize Your Fun Once You’re Cyber-Secure
Once you’ve taken the necessary steps to keep your phone, laptop, and other devices cyber-safe, it’s time to focus on enjoying your trip. Before heading out – and while still connected to that home Wi-Fi – consider downloading a few travel apps that will help you plan your vacation. Or better yet, book a guided tour with YMT Vacations so that every detail of your trip is taken care of for you. We’ll keep your trip fun while you keep your devices safe. To learn more about YMT Vacations guided tour destinations, call our Travel Consultants at 1-888-756-9072.