9 ways to help keep your personal data safe during vacation
Vacations can be an exciting, happy time for people to get away and avoid the everyday worries of home. But fun and leisure can come to a screeching halt if your personal data is compromised while traveling.
Booking vacations and travel could put your personal information at risk, due to missteps in how you go about preparing to leave, how you communicate while on vacation, and what you share on social media.
Here are nine ways to help keep your personal data safe while on vacation.
1. Book travel from secure websites
When booking anything travel-related, be sure to go directly to the official website of the company to book your reservations. The site’s web address should have “HTTPS” in the URL. If you’re not sure you’re on a real site, you can try Norton Safe Web, a free scanning tool that helps users identify malicious websites.
2. Enable passcodes/PIN on mobile devices before leaving
Enabling common security features on your mobile devices could be your first line of defense while on vacation. If your laptop or phone is left unattended, lost or stolen, a would-be criminal will have a harder time getting into your device if there’s a password lock set. Doing this is simple and quick.
3. Turn off automatic Bluetooth connectivity
Bluetooth is great in the car or at home, where it’s safe to communicate with other electronic devices. But most of us forget to disable Bluetooth connectivity when we go to public places, especially when we go on vacation.
With your Bluetooth connectivity left open, anyone sitting in a hotel lobby or nearby coffee shop could pick up that signal and gain access to your device. This can happen quickly and without your knowledge. Take a moment to avoid this threat by turning off Bluetooth while you’re on vacation.
4. Only use password-protected Wi-Fi networks
This tip is important, especially if you’re traveling abroad. Other countries may not have the same regulations on public Wi-Fi as the U.S. does, so sticking to a password-protected network, like the ones offered at most major hotels, is likely your safest bet if you need to access the Internet.
Similarly, if you must use a public computer for a quick email, always make sure you’ve logged out of your account before leaving. Look for the HTTPS extension at the beginning of the URL to ensure it’s protected. Avoid connecting to free public Wi-Fi whenever possible.
5. Use a VPN
Double up on your security when on public Wi-Fi by using a VPN, like Norton Secure VPN. A virtual private network (VPN) creates a secure ‘tunnel’ that encrypts the data you send and receive while on public Wi-Fi. One of the dangers of public Wi-Fi is that cybercriminals can intercept data via what’s known as a man-in-the middle attack. Financial account information, passwords and usernames, virtually any data you send or receive could be intercepted by hackers on the same public network.
6. Check sensitive accounts regularly
Before you leave the hotel for a day of sightseeing, get in the habit of checking sensitive financial accounts. Also, check them when you return home. The sooner you spot unfamiliar or fraudulent behavior, the better. Just make sure you log out of your accounts after each use.
7. Leave smart devices in a hotel safe
Some hotels rooms have safes for storing sensitive info or important keepsakes while traveling. Use the safe to store any smart devices you won’t need for the day, like a laptop, USB drive, external hard drive, or wearable technology. Don’t leave these things lying around your hotel room.
8. Don’t broadcast your vacation on social media
As tempting as it may be to share your vacation experiences online, it’s unwise to broadcast your location every few hours on social media. Why? You could be revealing that you’re not at home, where you may have left important personal data unsecured. And let’s not forget about all the other valuables you have inside your house. Post your vacation pictures after you get back home and limit info on your specific whereabouts when using social media.
9. Don’t overthink your security risks
Try not to obsess over your mobile security while on vacation. It’s not good for you, and it’s not good for the friends and family with you on your trip. Installing and running reputable device security software, such as Norton 360 Deluxe, on all of your devices before you leave can help you enjoy your vacation with peace of mind. Following these nine tips can help.
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