How to Keep Your Smartphone Secure During Holiday Travel


Whether you're traveling to across the country to see family for the holidays or flying internationally to a tropical locale to escape the winter blues, you're probably going to take a smartphone with you. Because of that, both the Homeland Security Department and the National Cyber Security Alliance have released guides for the best way to stay cyber secure while traveling.

Before You Go

While you're busy packing for your trip, you should prepare your device as well. Make sure the software on your phone is up to date because the latest version of an operating system usually includes security patches. Then backup all your contacts and data so you will still have that key information if your phone is lost or stolen.

If you don't have this set up already, be sure to set up password or biometric protection to protect your data when your phone is out of your possession.

While You're Traveling

Do not use public Wi-Fi networks for conducting personal business, banking or online shopping. These Wi-Fi networks are usually found at airports and coffee shops and if you're able to hop on a network with ease, anyone with more nefarious intentions can hop on and steal your sensitive information like your credit card number. If you really need to check your bank balance in a public locale, it's much better to turn your Wi-Fi off and rely on your device's data.

Turn off Bluetooth when you're not using it. Bluetooth can be useful for many things, but if you're in public with it turned on, a hacker could easily pair with your phone and use that connection to steal information.

If You've Been Breached

If you notice an account has been compromised be sure to inform your bank and credit card company as soon as possible. Don't wait until you're back home: Reporting fraud quickly helps reduces the impact and your personal liability. 

Following an incident, you should also change any account passwords.

And if you're doing any last-minute holiday shopping while traveling, here's how to stay safe doing that as well.