The smartphone in your pocket contains every detail about your life, from critical contact information to personal videos and photos. Unless you take the required steps to protect it, cybercriminals can steal your valuable data for their own gain.
While your phone is vulnerable just about anywhere, you might expose yourself to additional threats when traveling. Take, for instance, we connect to public Wi-Fi to avoid high roaming charges on trips abroad. However, these networks are often unsecured, making it easy for hackers to break into your mobile device and get their hands on your private data.
If you plan on traveling soon, there are certain measures that you should take to secure your phone from unauthorized access. Learn more about them in this article.
10 Ways to Protect Your Smartphone While Traveling
Without further ado, let’s dive in:
1. Keep your software up to date
Is the software on your phone updated? The latest versions of apps and operating systems not only include improvements and new features, but also critical patches to security vulnerabilities. So, don’t forget to check for any updates and download them if available. Otherwise, you may be exposed to known bugs.
2. Lock your phone
Most people don’t bother using a password to protect their mobile devices. That’s a huge mistake, one that could prove costly as passwords are the first line of defense against intruders. Use a combination of numbers, letters, symbols, and acronyms when setting a password for your phone. For an additional layer of protection, enable biometric protection like facial recognition or fingerprint scanning.
3. Clean up your device
Are there any old apps that you’re not using? If so, you need to delete them right away. Apps usually track your location and harvest data about you. It doesn’t make sense to risk that information for an app that you no longer use. Get rid of unused apps – it’s the smart thing to do!
NOTE: If you want to download a particular app, always use the official app stores. Rarely do third-party sources implement security checks.
4. Back up your data
Backing up your data right before and during your trip is always a good idea. That’s because if your mobile device gets lost or stolen, you’ll be able to easily restore your contacts, photos, files, and other data. Better to be safe than sorry, right?
5. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Want to use public Wi-Fi instead of your cellular connection? Most of these networks are unprotected, which means hackers can intercept your traffic and steal sensitive data like passwords and credit card numbers.
A VPN will encrypt your entire connection using robust security protocols, allowing you to access public Wi-Fi networks with peace of mind. Besides that, you can also access geo-locked content from back home using a VPN. Pretty cool, no?
6. Turn off Wi-Fi when not in use
Never make the mistake of keeping your Wi-Fi turned on when you’re not using it. After all, you wouldn’t want your phone to automatically connect to nearby free Wi-Fi networks, which could potentially be unsafe.
7. Enable “find my phone” & remote wipe features
If your phone is lost or stolen, you can locate it using the find my phone feature. Plus, with remote wipe, you’ll be able to delete all your information before someone accesses it. However, remember that these services only work if you enable them before you lose your phone.
8. Don’t keep Bluetooth turned on all the time
Besides consuming too much of your battery, leaving your Bluetooth on gives cybercriminals the opportunity to exploit this technology and gain access to your phone. Therefore, you’re better off disabling it when not in use.
NOTE: When you use Bluetooth, make sure it’s hidden to others. This will prevent other Bluetooth-capable devices from recognizing your mobile.
9. Disable location tracking
Though location services provide access to more information based on your whereabouts, you don’t necessarily have to keep it enabled all the time. Switch it off when not needed because your location information can be obtained by hackers and used to track you.
10. Use HTTPS Websites
Whenever you visit a website where you have to share confidential or personal information, check if it’s secure. HTTP sites are unencrypted and leave you vulnerable to man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, which is why you must avoid them at all costs. On the other hand, HTTPS sites are safer as all the data transmitted between them and your mobile device is encrypted.
Make no mistake, protecting your mobile device is as important as protecting your computer. By following the tips and advice discussed above, you can keep your smartphone (and the wealth of data it holds) safe from hackers while traveling.
Yasir Shamim is an up and coming Digital Marketer currently working as an Executive at PureVPN with the aim of increasing their search engine visibility. Digital Marketer by day and Tech Fanatic by night, he enjoys reading up about cyber security and technology in general and also loves to share his opinions.