(BPT) - Are you planning holiday travel or looking forward to vacations in 2024? As you make your packing list and check it twice, don't forget about cybersecurity.
While fraudsters work year-round, holiday travels provide many opportunities for them to steal personal information and dampen your holiday festivities. However, with a little preparation, you can protect yourself and your devices so you can focus on celebrating the season with your loved ones. So, as you gear up to travel over the river, through the woods, and into the skies this holiday season, use the following tips to safeguard your information.
1. Get smart before you leave home
Keep the season jolly and bright by locking cellphones, tablets, laptops and all other devices. Create strong, unique passwords that combine at least eight numbers, letters and special characters.
Don't forget to get your devices travel-ready by updating all operating systems and apps. This helps ensure your devices are protected from any known vulnerabilities. For an added layer of security, protect your smartphones and laptops with security software like Norton 360.
2. BYOC: Bring Your Own Charger
Even something as innocuous as charging your device in a public area poses a security risk. For example, hackers may have tampered with a USB port at a public charging station, a tactic known as 'juice jacking,' which allows them to access your personal information once you plug in.
This holiday, gift yourself a portable charger and a new power cord to keep your data safe. Don't access or enter any private information and power off your devices when charging.
3. Stay clear of public Wi-Fi and opt for a VPN
Free public networks at airports, hotels, coffee shops, and even airplanes are incredibly convenient. However, they can also make you an easy target for hackers looking to dampen your holiday cheer. Your personal data and passwords - including sent emails, banking information and credit card details - will be exposed, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft.
Protect your identity and other sensitive information by using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN allows you to hide your online activity so cybercriminals can't see your location or activity. Also, be sure to disable automatic Wi-Fi connections to prevent your device from unknowingly connecting to unsecured networks.
4. Beat the Bluetooth bandits
Bluetooth-connected headphones, game consoles, or other devices are a great way to pass the time during long layovers, flights or road trips to grandma's house for the holidays. However, those connections are also vulnerable to hacker attacks like BlueSnarfing, BlueJacking or eavesdropping.
When not in use, turn off Bluetooth and avoid keeping your device in discoverable mode, which makes it visible to others. Secure your connection by using PINS, passkeys or other secure pairing methods. Disable automatic pairing to prevent unauthorized devices from connecting to you.
5. Hold off on sharing
The holidays may be a season for sharing, but don't share information that can compromise your safety. Broadcasting your travel plans or location on social media can be a risk to your physical safety. Also, sharing your vacation information exposes you to threats like identity theft, phishing and other online scams.
Wait until you return from your trip to post photos to prevent bad actors from accessing your geotag data. If you post to social media while traveling, turn off location services and avoid 'check-ins' that reveal your location.
Never post photos of tickets, boarding passes or passports even after you've returned home from your holiday adventures. If you do post travel documents, make sure you cover up the barcodes and primary info.
During the holidays and beyond, vacation with peace of mind so you can focus on the spirit of the season. Using these top five tips, you can stay cyber savvy and focus on spending time with those you love most this season.
You can make your travels even more secure by getting comprehensive Cyber Safety protection like Norton 360 with LifeLock Select, which offers antivirus, malware, ransomware, hacking protection, a password manager, privacy monitoring, parental controls, and a VPN to help keep your internet browsing private. LifeLock monitors possible threats and helps you recover should your identity be stolen. To learn more about how you can be Cyber Safe this travel season, visit US.Norton.com.