The best way to keep your devices safe when you're travelling is to be unplugged. If you don't need it, don't take it with you. But since that is not always an option, here are some tips to keep you safe while you travel.
1. Backup before you go
The consequences of losing your device or having it stolen are worse when you are outside of your own environment. So make sure that you have recent backups of your important data, and don't keep the backups on the devices you are taking.
2. Turn on Find My device
Both Android and iOS offer options to track your device. So turn this on before you go, and if you lose your device you can remotely wipe it, or even leave a message on the screen for whoever finds it.
3. Consider your connections
The router that handles the Wi-Fi in your home keeps the individual devices shielded from a lot of undesirable traffic. But when you're out and about, a mobile firewall can manage the flow of traffic in and out of your device.
Disable the auto-connect options shortly before you leave and have your devices forget the network SSIDs in their lists. Threat actors can abuse these features for machine-in-the-middle attacks. Also disable the Bluetooth on your devices whenever you're not using it.
4. Protect your devices
Use a fully updated anti-malware solution for all your devices. Most anti-malware solutions will update automatically, but it's worth double checking their settings to check that's being done.
5. Patch and update
Your security software is not the only thing that should be kept up-to-date. Check if there are updates for your operating system (Windows, Android, iOS, or whatever you’re using), banking apps, and anything else which is privacy sensitive and you use on a daily basis. Updating them while you are travelling can be slow and tedious.
6. Use a password manager
Don’t forget to take your password manager and your 2FA device with you. Nothing can kill the buzz like having to go through umpteen “I forgot my password” routines. Talking of passwords, it goes without saying that all your devices should be protected with a PIN or password.
7. Careful what you post on social media
We know it’s hard, but usually it’s better to wait till you get back home before you show the world how beautiful the scenery was at your travel destination. Don’t announce your absence from home or burglars might get drawn to your home. Speaking of which, a little automation of the lighting can make it seem as if there is someone home watching the place.
8. Public Wi-Fi and computers
Simple. Don’t use them if you can avoid them. And if you have to, be thoughtful of the fact that they are indeed, public. Avoid sites where you need to login, sites with sensitive info (banking, healthcare, etc.), and especially stay away from making purchases over an unsecured connection. Use a VPN with strong encryption. After using a public computer, delete your cookies and maybe your browser history as well.
Don’t let all this ruin the fun
While most of the things mentioned above are precautions we (should) take every day, they are not the first ones that come to mind when you are planning that awesome trip you have worked for all year. But as always, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Safe travels!
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