By Marie Flanagan June 14, 2022
Summary: If you’re planning to take your devices with you when you travel, you’ll want to stay as secure as possible. We’ve got the six hottest tips for keeping your devices — and data — private. And they’re easy to implement! No manuals or new tools needed; we promise.
It seems like travel is back on everyone’s minds. Whether you’re finally taking a trip you’ve spent years planning or you’re just ready for a spontaneous long weekend, chances are that you’ll be using the internet to help get you there – and to help you find your way around once you’ve arrived. And while high-speed internet while on vacation is great to enjoy, you also need to stay secure while using it. Lucky for you, we’ve got the best six tips on how to do just that.
Using a physical device means there’s the possibility it could be stolen — or simply left behind at a coffee shop by accident. But other than keeping your gadgets on your person, here’s a great trick. Most smartphones have a feature called something like “Find My Device.” The catch is, this has to be enabled before the device is lost. It can’t be turned on remotely. If your device is lost and has this feature turned on, you’ll be able to sign in to your account on a different device and find out where the device is. If for some reason the device isn’t able to be found, you’ll be given its last known location. From here, you can play a sound, lock your phone (or put a display message stating how to get in touch with you to return the device), or erase the device.
If you choose to erase the device, tread lightly. Find My Device will no longer work and all your data will be permanently deleted. So if you don’t have automatic data backup, you won’t be able to get that information back.
Not sure how to find that setting on your device? A quick online search can answer your device-specific questions.
While Bluetooth is great for connecting to devices in your home or even wearable tech, like your watch, it can be a risk when you’re traveling. If your Bluetooth is active, hackers can see the networks you’ve connected to in the past, copy them, and trick your device into connecting. From there, they can either steal your data, spy on you, or put malware and viruses onto your device.
Avoid using Bluetooth at all if possible, but if you do need it, turn it off when it’s not in use and consider periodically wiping your history.
We get it: public WiFi is super convenient when you’re in line waiting for your order or working remotely from a new location. It lets you connect to whatever you want without asking someone for a password or burning through your phone’s hotspot. But the ease that public WiFi offers is precisely what makes it so risky. Because public WiFi networks are unencrypted, it’s easy for anyone else on that network to see your information while connected.
The best practice is to avoid public WiFi altogether. But if you really do need to use it, here are a few tips:
Which brings us to our next tip!
A VPN, or virtual private network, is one of the best ways to ensure your information stays private. We even recommend using a VPN at home! VPNs encrypt your internet protocol (IP) address, which protects your activity from prying eyes. VPNs establish a secure connection with their own network server so that your internet provider — or any potential cybercriminals — can’t see your final destination or any of the information you enter on those pages.
VPNs can make an unsecured network, like public WiFi, much more secure. But it also helps keep your life more private when you’re home. Establishing this second connection can make your online experience a little slower, but it’s generally not that noticeable. This has the most impact if you’re using your internet connection for something time-sensitive, like competitive video gaming.
Some companies may offer a VPN for free. But we recommend finding one that’s bundled together with a complete cyber safety suite.
It’s easy to think that as long as you avoid clicking on phishing links and entering financial information on public networks, you’ll be perfectly safe online. Unfortunately, that’s not always true. Think of all the important personal information you access online: medical files, credit scores, bank statements, and more. Choosing a cyber security solution that works across multiple devices and offers identity theft protection and reimbursement, a secure password keychain, and a VPN can make staying safer online as easy as possible. We recommend Protect+ powered by Norton. It has the features you need, licenses for multiple devices (think: phone and tablets in addition to your laptop or computer), and a million-dollar protection program — a real one-stop-shop solution.
We know how easy it is to click “remind me later” when prompted to do a software or security update on any of your devices. But these updates do a lot more than add new emojis to the library. They strengthen security measures, patch weak points, and keep your information all-around safer. Plus: the older your software is, the more time hackers have had to find the weak points. So, if you have an outdated operating system and the people around you are up to date, you’re an easier target. Do yourself a favor and turn on automatic updates — you’ll be able to stay safer wherever you are without having to think about it!
If you’re in search of a new view, follow these six tips to stay safer online. And if you’re looking for even more, we’ve got the top 15 tricks to keep your entire family safer online — wherever they roam. At EarthLink, we’re committed to your privacy. That’s why we’ve partnered with the best in the business to offer security plans that pair perfectly with our no credit checks, no data caps fiber internet.
Marie Flanagan is a contributing writer for EarthLink. She’s a life-long Atlantan with a passion for SaaS, IoT, AI, fintech, and everything technology. Her ideal offline situation is volunteering in STEM education for girls or on her front porch with a book.
See all posts from Marie Flanagan.