Many of us will be travelling in the coming weeks in search of the sun and much needed R and R, so here are some travel security tips to consider protecting your devices and your digital life while you are away from home.
Prepare for loss and theft, harden your devices
On holiday, you are likely to be in unfamiliar places, more relaxed and less vigilant than usual. This is a perfect combination for getting a device lost or stolen, you want to limit the damage if the worst happens. With that in mind, here are some things you should think about doing before you go:
- Backup your devices.
- Make sure your devices are all locked with a passphrase.
- Don’t forget to set a code on your eBook reader, the longer the better.
- Make sure you have installed all the pending software updates.
- Make sure you have a reliable anti-virus installed including on your mobiles and tablets.
- Turn off functionalities that you don’t need, such as Bluetooth and NFC.
The less devices you have to protect, the less you have to protect
For the same reasons as you harden your devices, if you can, do not bring all your devices with you. The less you have to protect and remember, the better. Leaving devices at home also means that if something goes wrong, you will still have a working device at home with all your accounts and data.
Be careful with public devices
Where possible, avoid using public computers and tablets in hotels, airports, and libraries. You don’t know where they have been, who was on them before you, or what nastiness they might have installed. If you must use them, avoid logging into any of your important accounts – email, social media, bank accounts.
If you insist on logging into your accounts, at least make sure you logout of everything before you leave and clear all browser history. When you get home, consider changing the passwords for the accounts you used in risky places while you were away. If you have a password manager like the one that comes with TalkTalk’s SuperSafe online security, then this will be super easy.
While you are updating passwords, you can also take a quick look at your bank and credit card statements. Check for any strange transactions, which might be a sign that your card details were stolen in a shop or a restaurant while you were there. If in doubt, you can call your bank – if necessary, cancel the card and order a new one. To reduce the risk of stolen card details, cover your hand while you enter your PIN and try to keep your card in sight if you need to hand it over when paying. You can also try to check ATMs and card machines for skimmers by running your hand over them and pulling a bit.
Connecting your devices can be dangerous
Be careful about what you connect your devices to and where you charge them. A simple example – if you sync your phone in a rental car, all of your phone contacts and other synced information will likely now be available to the rental company and to the next drivers to look at. When connecting, pay attention to the warnings on your mobiles and tablets asking if you want to allow syncing of your contacts and photos – feel free to say no!
Prepare for less internet
If you can help it, it’s best where possible not to connect to public Wi-Fi – if you really have to do this then the advice is to use a trusted VPN so that that no one can see or manipulate your traffic.
Another option is to just use your mobile device as these days for many countries in the EU, your mobile subscription will allow you to use your UK minutes, texts, and data abroad at no extra charge.
Consider what information you make public
Holiday periods often see spikes in home burglaries because the criminals know people are away. So be careful what you post on social media and consider only posting your holiday details and photos when you are already back home. This includes avoiding adding your location to things you post while you are away – it is quite easy to work out people’s home and work addresses, as well as basic schedules, from location tagged public social media.
Security is not supposed to make your life hard or detract from your enjoyment. So, try to take a few simple steps ahead of time, and keep a small level of awareness is enough. Do not spoil your holiday by becoming hyper-vigilant and afraid of every shadow.
TalkTalk’s SuperSafe Online Defence internet security protects up to 10 of the family’s mobiles, tablets, and computers from Internet nasties for just £4 per month. SuperSafe also comes with a helpful Password Manager as well. Once you’ve selected SuperSafe, you will receive an email from F-Secure to install the apps onto your devices.
Go to My Account where you can add SuperSafe