Tech Safety Tips for the Holidays

​43% of us will be hitting the road on long-distance trips for the upcoming holidays, according to the United States Department of Transportation. While getting ready to trek away from home don’t forget to keep security at the top of your checklist. Avoid some common, and potentially devastating, errors to help make the holidays go by just a little bit smoother. We’ve rounded up a list of some tips to keep one less thing off your mind during this busy time of year.

Holiday Travel
Image from Rasmussen College

Public Wi-Fi:

Friend or public enemy number one? Whether it be at the airport, hotel – or just a quick stop along the way – free Wi-Fi hotspots are popping up everywhere. Before you connect consider using a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, so that all the data that leaves your laptop is encrypted. Remember that hotspots can be run by anyone, and people can eavesdrop and record your network traffic while you are using them. When in doubt, don’t use it, chances are whatever you have to do can wait, it is the holidays after all.

Social Media Overshare:

We all get super excited to post that photo of our friends and family in some faraway place, but maybe consider holding off until your back at home. Those cute photos can share a lot of information, such as the fact that you’re not home, or even in the same state. Burglars could be anywhere and anyone, an easy Facebook post indicating you’re away could make your home a sitting duck. Consider waiting on the posting photos or changing the privacy settings on them so only the people you know, and trust, can see them.

Tech Gifts:

Giving or receiving a new gadget is always fun, but make sure you also know the proper safety measures to set up on it – if there’s any at all! Things like health and fitness wearable devices are top items to receive this year, but make sure you are following all the recommendations on behalf of the company and do a little research yourself to make sure you’re not jeopardizing any of your information or any of the information on your devices that it connects to.

Tech & Travel:

It’s probably not in your travel plans to lose your phone or have your laptop stolen, but just in case it does happen it doesn’t hurt to make sure any private information on either is kept safe with some form of security.  Make sure to always have a password, pin, or pattern lock activated on your phone. Make it something random, and not easy to guess, to ensure added safety. For you laptop make sure to back up all your data before you take it anywhere. Additionally protect it with a password and encrypt your hard drive to maintain if anything happens your information is protected.

For additional resources check out these links:

​How (and why) to set up a VPN: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2030763/how-and-why-to-set-up-a-vpn-today.html

The most hackable holiday gifts: http://www.bankrate.com/financing/identity-protection/the-most-hackable-holiday-gifts/

10 Nightmares When Traveling With Tech - http://www.pcworld.com/article/246381/10_nightmares_when_travelling_with_tech_and_how_to_prevent_them.html

Anatomy of a Wi-Fi hole - https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2015/12/03/anatomy-of-a-wi-fi-hole-take-care-in-your-hotel-this-christmas/

Social Media Don’ts When Traveling: http://blog.travelinsured.com/social-media-donts-when-youre-traveling/