As I prepare my packing list for an upcoming vacation (one that I’ve actually been counting the days down until it arrives), I realize that the first few items I wrote down were my phone, tablet and other electronic devices. That sparked a rollercoaster of questions in my head. What would I do without my phone and other devices? How would I keep up with current events? How would I maintain contact with family and friends (and maybe work)? What did people do before they had electronic devices? Then a more interesting question popped into my head; how safe are my devices both at home and abroad?
There are two categories of safety concerns involving electronic devices. The first category is the loss or theft of the device and the second category is cyber security. If your device goes missing or is hacked, all the valuable information on it could fall into the hands of the wrong person. Both of these categories can result in your identity being stolen and/or monetary losses, plus there is an added inconvenience of replacing your device and dealing with the issues that were caused by the loss.
I decided to do some research on ways to prevent issues from occurring in either category, and pass on the tips I have learned.
Category #1 – For the loss or theft of your device:
- Treat electronic devices like cash
- Put secure passcodes on any device that will allow it
- Carry the device in something less conspicuous
- Leave electronic devices unattended, even just for a moment – do not assume they will be safe in your hotel room or in a hotel safe
- Leave them in a car
- Use your device too much in public
- Keep passwords on the devices
Category #2 – Cyber security:
- Remove personal or important information from your electronic devices that you will not require when traveling
- Turn off devices or put them in ‘sleep’ or ‘airplane’ mode when they are not being used
- Put passcodes on any device that will allow it
- Change any and all passwords you may have used abroad
- Use public Internet connections for personal or sensitive communication
- Leave electronic devices unattended, even just for a moment
- Lend your devices to anyone you do not know very well
- Send sensitive messages or information via email or text
Now I can finish writing the rest of my packing list and hopefully the next time you go on a trip (even if it’s just a day trip), you can feel comfortable bringing your electronic devices. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit; you never know when you might need it.