Summer is here and whether you’re still at the office most of the time or you’re spending your days at the pool, you’re probably taking a vacation at some point. Just like your home requires someone to bring in the mail and feed the cat, there are some precautions you should take to protect your security and your online data as well.
1. Post your vacation pictures after you get home
Just like seeing your newspapers pile up, your social media profile can be a dead giveaway that you’re out of town. While it’s tempting to post a new Instagram everyday of your vacation, stockpile the images and post them after you get home. This will protect your physical property while you’re away.
2. Be careful entering sensitive information on public wifi networks
It’s always great when you’re on vacation and you find that sweet FREE hotspot! But open wifi networks give the owner of the network the ability to access any data entered while connected to the network. This doesn’t mean that they can gain all of the login information for every site you use but, it probably isn’t the best time to enter your credit card number, SSN, or other sensitive data on your device.
3. Lock your devices and download location apps like FindmyiPhone
Putting a passcode on your device can ensure that your data is protected. In the event that you lose your phone or computer, it is better that a stranger can’t access your device which probably contains payment information and personal information. For iPhone users, downloading FindMyiPhone allows you to log into the app using your AppleID on any other Apple device to track your phone.
4. Avoid connecting your phone or tablet to unreliable devices
While it may be tempting to charge your phone using a hotel computer, be wary of connecting your mobile devices to anyone else’s computer. Many computers prompt the user asking if they want to download the data from the connected device but, you can’t be sure that saying ‘no’ protects all your data. Try to use wall outlets as often as possible and, if you can’t access one, power your phone off before plugging it in.
5. Check the permissions on apps that you download
After you download an app, it will usually provide you with a series of pop-up windows requesting access to things like your location, contacts, camera, microphone, etc. Use common sense to avoid data mining apps and risk having your information stolen. For example, a flashlight app shouldn’t need access to anything except the flash on your camera and a game should not be asking for access to your location, contacts, or Facebook login.