With summer and festival season getting into full swing soon, you’ll want to stay connected to travel and social media apps more than ever. But it’s important to be hyper-aware that cyber thieves are on the prowl for your personal, financial and location information.
When traveling, like many of us will be doing this Memorial Day, your digital security risks can increase. But just a few thoughtful steps can reduce your digital security risks while traveling this holiday season.
TOP 10 MOBILE SECURITY TIPS
- Before you leave, make sure that your device’s software is up-to-date. Consider removing older applications that you no longer use.
- Keep your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interfaces off when they are not in use.
- Avoid using PUBLIC WI-FI HOTSPOTS. Public Wi-Fi hotspots usually have no encryption. Such as, malicious actors within a certain physical distance from you can eavesdrop on your communications. If you do use public Wi-Fi, try to use it only for basic browsing and applications that do not involve personal data. Try to avoid logging into sites or accounts that contain sensitive data, such as your bank. If you find yourself needing to use public Wi-Fi often, you should consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). The other concern with using public hotspots is that it is dangerous to have a saved Wi-Fi profile where the connection has no password or a well-known password. In this situation, it is trivial for an attacker to deploy a fake access point and trick your device into unexpectedly connecting to a hostile network.
- Consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). In the previous tip, it was suggested that you shouldn’t use public Wi-Fi due to unencrypted wireless communication unless you use a VPN. However, a VPN can be useful even if you don’t use Wi-Fi. A VPN will create an encrypted connection for you so that your data is protected before it enters the network. The VPN serves as a secure tunnel between your device and the Internet. This feature provides extra assurances that no sensitive data will be exposed to a malicious wireless operator.
- Password protect your phone with a PIN, or better yet a passphrase. Devices can be easily lost or stolen. This is never a fun event. In the unfortunate event that your device goes missing, keeping it secure with a PIN or passphrase will prevent malicious actors from accessing the physical device and then stealing your personal information.
- Encrypt your device. Similar to having the device PIN protected, encrypting the device adds a layer of protection to your data in the event that a malicious actor gets access to the physical device.
- Consider using the vendor provided GPS-based device location service. In the event that you lose your device, you can find the device or even remotely wipe it if you are worried about data loss. For those with Android devices, ‘Android Device Manager’ or the recently released ‘Find Device’ apps are both tied to your Google Account, while Apple users can use ‘Find My iPhone’, tied to their Apple ID.
- Prior to leaving your home network, you should configure any applications that you think you will require while you are out and about. For example, if you plan on using Uber, make sure that your Uber account is setup and that your payment information is configured. Not only do you avoid transmitting that payment information while you’re out; you avoid anyone reading off your credit card number as you enter it.
- Enable 2FA (two-factor authentication) for applications that support it.
- If you need to use your mobile device as a personal hotspot, ensure that the hotspot name reveals no personal details, use a strong password, and monitor the number of connected devices to ensure that no one else is accessing your connection.