Staying safe in the cyber world is becoming harder and harder with all kinds of threats looming over us. But by simply implementing basic security measures, you could be preventing serious consequences. Whether you are looking for tips on how to stay safe during the summer holidays or just every day life, there is definitely something you can learn from this article that will hopefully save you from trouble.
Do not post about your private life and stop oversharing
This may be an obvious one but you would be surprised at how many users willingly give away vital information about themselves. If you carelessly declare when you will be away, you give the perfect chance for criminals to take advantage of an empty home. Oversharing on social media is also a major problem and people fail to understand that a lot of questionable individuals might have access to the posted information. And in general, unless you are a big celebrity or your job requires you to have public posts, your profiles on social media should be set to private. And if you have hundreds of ‘friends’ added and you know you have not spoken to them in years or at all, it is best you remove them. By oversharing you are inviting other people to exploit what you post online.
Tips for Staying Safe Online
And this does not only apply to yourself. Parents often post private details on social media about their children and unintentionally expose them to possible danger. Do you really want someone who can easily access your profile to see what school your child goes to? Keep that information to yourself and be smart when posting on social media.
Educating your children about the dangers they may encounter when using the Internet is also crucial if they have access to a device connected to the web. We sometimes think that children know more about technology and the Internet than adults do but what they lack is experience and knowledge about staying safe. It is your job to explain what could happen if they sent private information to random strangers or if they were oversharing on their social media.
Be smart when booking holidays
If you are not booking via some travel agency, you are probably looking at booking websites. There are plenty of legitimate ones that do actually help you find a suitable hotel or a flight for a good price but there are also those that aim to simply get your money. Do not just book your flight via the first booking website you encounter. Always look into the site’s reputation and read others’ experiences. If 90% of users say it was a scam, do not just book it because it offers a low price.
Same goes for hotels. When renting rooms, first find out if the hotel is actually associated with the website you are using. Or if possible, book via hotel directly. You can use a site to find what you are looking for but the safest way would be to later go the hotel’s web page and make a booking through there. Otherwise, you could arrive at the hotel only to find out that you fell for a scam and the hotel has no records of you booking anything.
It is also worth checking how the hotel deals with sensitive information. When you make a booking, you provide all kinds of private information, such as name and banking details. If the database of that hotel was hacked and there were no security measures taken to protect sensitive data, that information could end up in the hands of criminals.
Backup your data
This should be a must not only when going on a holiday but also in every day life. But for the sake of this article, we will focus on why it is important when you go away. If you are taking your laptop, phone or tablet with you, chances are, there is important data on them. If someone was to steal your device, you would end up losing all that data.
Now, if you had made copies of everything important before you left home, that would be a lesser problem because you could recover files when you get home. Reliable backup might not be cheap but it goes a long way to save you from losing your files. And with so many options out there, we are sure you will find something that suits you and your wallet.
Avoid using public WiFi
This is a difficult one. We are so dependent on the Internet, it is unlikely we will not use it when away on a holiday. But before you do, there are a couple of safety measures you can take to avoid a nasty surprise when you get back. Unprotected WiFi is something you should absolutely avoid. If you are in a busy airport, thousands of people could be using the same WiFi you just connected to and someone might be doing so with malicious intentions.
Same goes for password protected WiFi, although it is less vulnerable, it still is not completely safe to use. You should especially avoid logging into sensitive websites or making any kind of transactions. Otherwise, you might be exposing vital information to hackers. When you must use the Internet and are scared to look at the rates for mobile data, Virtual Private Network (VPN) is your best friend. It will make it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to your data when using public WiFi.
Stay vigilant when using ATMs and paying by card
The last thing you want to deal with when you are in the middle of a holiday or when you return home is stolen money. And you would not even notice it happening. No matter where you go, there is a possibility that you will insert your card into an ATM that has a skimmer attached to it. A skimmer is this device that basically reads your card, providing the crooks responsible for it with your card’s magnetic stripe data. Skimmers are attached to the ATM itself and can be difficult to notice if you do not know what to look for. In addition to that, a tiny camera might be attached somewhere, pointed directly at the PIN pad. Or a fake pad might be placed on top of the real one so that they would know your PIN. To avoid becoming a victim of this, when using ATMs look for any suspicious details. If there are any protruding parts on the slot where you insert your card, try to pull them or move them around. If a part comes off, you probably just took off a skimmer. You should also shield your PIN, even when no one is around the ATM. Just cover it with your hands so that the view from all sides is as obstructed as possible. And if you notice anything out of place or if it just feels like something is wrong, it is best you find another ATM.
Similar things can happen when paying by card. Lets say you in a restaurant and ask to pay by card. The waiter then takes your card to swipe or to bring the machine to you. Letting the card out of your sight is a big mistake. If the waiter asks to take your card, request that the machine be brought to you first and if that is not possible, go to it yourself. Do not let anyone go off with your card, even if it is for a few seconds. And always shield your PIN if you need to enter it, even when in a safe place.
These holidays tips to be cyber secure do not only apply when you are away. They should be implemented every day and you will be able to save yourself the headache of becoming a victim of some kind crime.