How to prepare a smartphone or tablet for vacation
Authored by a Symantec employee
There are few times your smartphone or tablet will be more at risk than when you go on vacation. Although these items have been specifically designed to accompany you on your travels, they’re full of personal information that can put you, your finances, and your personal property at risk.
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Change Your Passwords
Before you leave for vacation, take a few moments to think about the personal accounts you might need while on vacation—things like email and banking apps. Change the passwords on all of these accounts before you leave on your trip. Make sure to create complex and unique passwords that aren’t similar to any others you might have used in the past. You can change the passwords back after you return home.
As tedious as it can be to update all your apps, it’s an important step to take when preparing a smartphone or tablet for vacation. Apps are particularly vulnerable when not updated regularly. Newer versions often contain patches that resolve potential security issues. Keeping your apps, as well as your phone or tablet’s operating system, up to date is an essential step when preparing for a trip. You should also use this opportunity to go through your apps and delete anything you don’t use or need.
Limit Social Media
As tempting as it can be to post every picture from every point of interest on vacation, over-sharing information about where you are and what you’re doing, especially when you’re away from home, can pose major security risks to you as well as your property. Share your photos after you return home and try to limit the day-to-day posting so people don’t assume you’ll be away from your home for a particularly long period.
Don’t Leave Devices Unattended
This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised by how many people prefer to check their laptops and tablets at the airport. You wouldn’t leave your wallet out for everyone to see, or for complete strangers to carry up to your hotel room. Always keep your smart devices by your side or in a safe place. If you use the hotel safe, do not write the PIN or password down in the room. Make it unique and keep it private. Keep your smartphone and tablet in the safe when you leave the hotel, or if you don’t wish to carry them with you.
Turn Off Automatic Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity
Smartphones and laptops feature automatic connectivity, which allows you to connect Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth without manually accepting the signal. These settings should be changed before you depart for vacation. There’s nothing wrong with accessing the Internet on your smartphone as long as the connection is secure and uses encryption. This is not always the case with public Wi-Fi and especially with random Bluetooth signals. For safety’s sake, change this feature in the settings section of your device to ensure your personal information isn’t attacked or seen.
The last thing you should have to worry about while on vacation is whether your smartphone or tablet could use more cyber security. By talking these steps, you can rest a little easier knowing that you’ve done the best you can to avoid a potential threat. However, the most important thing to remember is to be on the lookout for strange behavior from both your smartphone and tablet. Listen to your instincts and be dubious of ‘free’ or ‘public’ Wi-Fi. When in doubt, turn your device off.
Follow these tips to prepare your smartphone and tablet for a safe and memorable vacation.
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