5 Simple Tips for Securing Your Private Data on Vacation

5 Simple Tips for Securing Your Private Data on Vacation

It’s vacation season, and we are all hype about different destinations. Once the packing time arrives, there are big chances that our packing list will include our favorite gadgets: laptop/tablet, smartphone and digital camera.

Why would you need them on vacation? Well, hopefully, you won’t be checking your business e-mails, but just keeping up with what’s going on in a digital world (and maybe sometimes checking in on Facebook and Instagram with astonishing photos of tropical beaches and tasty food).

Bringing our gadgets on vacation means our private data is traveling too. This could be potentially dangerous if we don’t protect our data first. Let’s make our worries negligible and our private data safe during travel by adhering to these simple recommendations:

Before departure: Book safely!

Whether you plan to stay at a hotel or an apartment during your travel, it’s most probable that you will book it online. Then, you may want to book some tours in advance so you don’t have to wait in line for the entrance to the Eifel tower for 2 hours (which, of course, I forgot to do). Make sure that you are booking your accommodation, tickets and tours from safe websites whose URLs begin with “https”.

Before departure: Prevention for your gadgets

I still haven’t been to a tourist place where they haven’t warned me to be aware of pickpocketing.

Our devices are valuable and costly, so you might consider securing them with anti-theft applications. Some of these include Lookout, Cerberus, Prey and they offer options for finding or protecting your device: GPS location, sounding an alarm, locking the phone, wiping the data completely, and more. Another great tool is Return.Me, which with its recovery tags helps protect your gadget and improve the chances of it being returned if you lose it.

However, the act of our devices getting lost or stolen is not what should concern us the most. Just think about all the data someone could access if they get their fingers on your device.

When travelling, your devices and data are more vulnerable, and this is especially important if your device is loaded with photos, sensitive medical records, and synchronized to your e-mail and social media accounts. Before leaving the house, get rid of any sensitive data and for what is left, secure it with strong passwords. When it comes to online accounts, set up two verification processes that add another layer of security when logging in.

On vacation: Use password protected Wi-Fi and “https” whenever possible

When on vacation always use closed and protected Wi-Fi networks and visit only "https" websites.

It is recommended to avoid connecting to open and unsecured Wi-Fi, which means you should try to use official ones provided by your hotel. If you are logging into your social media or e-mail accounts, or paying online, make sure that the URLs begin with “https” which secure the transmission of your data.

On vacation: Don’t forget to log out of public computers

You might have decided to leave your laptop at home in order to enjoy some well-deserved digital detox. However, unpredicted stuff happens and you may have to send an urgent e-mail. You will probably be forced to use one of the public computers in your hotel, or in an Internet café nearby. No problem, but make sure to log out of all your accounts when you are done with business. Then, rush back to the beach!

On vacation: Check your sensitive financial information daily

As a tourist, you will probably be using your credit card on daily basis, so checking your bank account daily while on vacation can help identify suspicious activities on time and thus help resolving them before it’s too late. Of course, first make sure you are logged on to a secure Internet connection. Another great option is activating SMS notifications for every time your funds get withdrawn from your account.

It’s important to enjoy your vacation, but it’s equally important to protect your private data. And since we are talking about vacations, I will recommend you to visit one gorgeous destination, a small country of Montenegro, home of .ME.

Cheers to the vacation season!

Image Credits: Michael Coghlan

Author:

Ivana Drakic

Ivana is a political scientist by vocation and a dancer by heart. She loves to be around geeky people. This mixture explains her interests in technologies, data, writing, research.

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