For many, the thought of spring means it’s time to start planning some warm weather adventures—and of course, there’s an app for that. But, according to a recent study by Experian, 33% of the 15 million Americans who have been victims of identity theft had their devices hacked while traveling. So, while many elements of your vacation are now literally at your fingertips, it’s important to protect your mobile devices—both before and during your holiday.
The National Cybersecurity Alliance recommends following a few travel-inspired to-dos so you can use your mobile device, and the internet, with confidence and peace of mind when planning and enjoying that well-deserved holiday:
- Actively manage app location services and hashtags. Location tools come in handy while planning your trip or navigating a new city, but they can also expose your whereabouts – and not just to your friends. Turn off location services for apps you’re not using while on vacation.
- Share with care. Think twice before posting pictures that reveal you’re not home. Wait until you’re back from your getaway and then post to your heart’s content. Bad guys have Facebook, too, and if they see in your newsfeed that you’re hundreds of miles away, your house just became an easy target for a break in.
- Get savvy about Wi-Fi hot spots. Don’t send personal information or make purchases on unsecure networks like those in local cafés or hotel lobbies. Instead, use your phone’s cellular connection as a personal hotspot to surf more securely.
- Delete unused apps. During vacation, many people use apps that can be specific to a city or attraction. These apps should be deleted when no longer needed.
- Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when idle. When Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are on, they connect and track your whereabouts. If you don’t need them, switch them off.
- Turn on features that address lost/stolen devices. Enable the Find My iPhone feature of your Apple devices (or the Android/Windows equivalent). These first-party services allow you to locate, disable or wipe your device if it is lost or stolen. Your device may need location services to be turned on for these features to work, that’s why we recommended earlier that location services be disabled on an app-by-app basis. Follow this advice and have a safe and secure travel adventure!