It's summer time, which for many, means vacation. And for most workers, it means not completely unplugging. As much as we'd love to put the phone away for a week, most of us are still checking emails or keeping up with the news on our phones.
But relaxing on the beach or in the mountains, doesn't mean you should relax when it comes to your data security. Keep these tips in mind when you're on the road to keep a data breach from ruining your vacation:
1. Use caution when connecting to free Wi-Fi, like in an airport or coffee shop. If you are not required to authenticate through a secure webpage, your device is open to being compromised. Never send any confidential or sensitive data when connected to a free wi-fi.
2. Check the URL of a website (or secure log-in when accessing Wi-Fi) before logging in to make sure you’re actually logging into the website you think you logging into. A common way of stealing log-in information is to create fake sign-in pages that look like the real thing. If the URL or page look fishy, don’t log in.
3. Turn off your Bluetooth when you’re not using it. By leaving it on all the time, you’re risking someone pairing to your device and gaining access to you pictures, files or contacts.
4. If you use mobile banking applications, use a passcode or fingerprint authentication. Most banking apps will require (or at least have the option) to create a passcode specifically for that app. If this is an option for you, turn it on. If your app gives you the option for any other dual-factor authentications, use that, too. Do not use public wi-fi for connecting to your mobile banking (or accounting) apps. Log out when you’re not using it. And if your device is stolen, report it to your bank immediately so they can put a hold on your account.
5. Use caution when downloading apps. Avoid unknown 3rd party app stores. Only download apps through the official app store for your device (App Store, Google Play Store, Windows Phone Store). If you are unsure of an app, search for it online before downloading to read reviews and find out if it’s legitimate. When you’re downloading an application, be cautious about what you’re giving it access to. For instance, a simple game shouldn’t need access to your phonebook and SMS/messages. If an app asks for too much access, you may want to skip the installation all together.
6. If your device is lost or stolen, use the device wipe feature to wipe your phone’s information. View these instructions for remotely wiping your device: iPhones, Androids, Windows Phone (scroll down to “To erase your phone”).