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Protect Portable Devices from the Ghouls This Halloween

Protect Portable Devices from the Ghouls This Halloween
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By Susan Hoffman
Contributor, InCyberDefense

Halloween is the start of the holiday season and many people often take trips at this time for either work or pleasure. On these trips, electronic devices such as laptops, tablet computers or smartphones are a common sight.

However, Halloween and other holidays are a time to be especially careful about maintaining your cybersecurity, since hackers can’t wait to prey on your portable devices. Because you’re traveling, you are more likely to leave your portable devices unattended in your hotel room when you’re out celebrating or to use unsecure Wi-Fi locations such as hotels, coffee shops and Internet cafes.

Tips for Maintaining the Cybersecurity of Portable Devices As You Travel

Security company Malwarebytes offers various suggestions to protect the cybersecurity of your devices during a trip:

1. Make sure that you install the latest security updates on your electronic devices before you leave home.

2. Create a complex password that won’t be easy for a hacker to guess and be sure that no prying eyes are close by when you’re using your device in public. Ideally, your password should be a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

3. Back up valuable data and photos before you leave home. If possible, use the 3-2-1 rule. Have three copies of your data stored on two different media and keep one of the backup copies in an offsite location (such as a cloud storage service).

4. Check the terms of your travel insurance to see if your electronic devices are covered in the policy.

5. Turn off your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections when they are not in use.

6. If you need to access sensitive data, consider signing up with a virtual private network (VPN) service prior to using your hotel’s Wi-Fi or make sure the hotel uses secure passwords.

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) also recommends that you avoid connecting your mobile device to any computer or charging station that you do not control. That includes charging stations at airports or computers at libraries.

After Your Trip, Make Sure Your Portable Devices Didn’t Pick Up Any Ghosts

After your trip is over, it’s a good idea to run a check on your electronic devices. This security check will help you ensure that your devices didn’t pick up any unwanted passengers, such as viruses or malignant apps.

The holidays are a great time to relax and have fun. But you’ll enjoy the holidays even more when you don’t have to worry about the cybersecurity of your electronic devices. Happy Halloween!