Planning for travel always has its fun aspects and its more daunting tasks, no matter how far you’re traveling from home. While researching your destination or making plans with friends and family to keep everyone entertained can be stimulating, there is nothing exciting about balancing your expenses for the trip or organizing accommodations when options are tight.
Even less stimulating is the often under-prioritized task of securing you and your family’s personal data. No one wants to plan for a potential cyber-attack on your family’s personal identification information when you should be focused on enjoying quality time with loved ones that you only see once a year. But with the world becoming increasingly digital with each passing season – and the number of personal security threats increasing all the while – this less-than-glamorous task is more important now than ever.
If you and your family are traveling with a smartphone, tablet or laptop (and who isn’t) this holiday season, here is part one of a checklist of precautions you should take before shipping out.
Public computers are bad news, and public WiFi is even worse
Back in the 90s, before smart phones were prolific and WiFi was omnipresent, internet cafes lined with desktop computers were almost the only way for travelers to get online when they were away from home. Many of these hot spots have disappeared over the past two decades, however, as most people keep some kind of personal computer on them at all time, which is a boon when it comes to security.
The computers in these cafes would often not go through the scrupulous security checks and updates that are necessary to ensure anti-virus or phishing software hasn’t been installed. In fact, customers and employees were often able to upload their own programs to these computers without needing permission, as many people weren’t wise to the risks of cyber security back then like they are today.
Free WiFi is now what drives weary travelers into cafes in hopes of getting online without draining their data plans. But the security over public WiFi is even harder to monitor than on an old-school desktop, since you can’t readily view who has access to the computers sharing the network in many cases, making your files and information stored on the device vulnerable to potential cyber criminals.
Rather than exchanging information over email using public WiFi, for instance, store files on a device like Link so that you can access files offline rather than having to join an insecure network. If you need to share information with others, the Fasetto App offers a layer of security since it only allows fellow app users to exchange information.
As we get closer to the holidays, stay tuned for more travel tips that will help you rest easy, knowing your family’s personal security is taken care of wherever your roam.