Posted July 11, 2019
Summer's here! The kids are out of school, the weather is lovely, and for many of us it means sun, fun and family holidays.
But digital security and privacy issues may show up as you travel – and there are often things you may not think about (especially since they only appear once or twice a year).
So here are 7 things you can do to make sure your holiday is as safe as it is fun:
Before traveling, take a few minutes to get your digital house in order . Back up your Mac with Time Machine and your mobile devices to iCloud. Be sure to update your iOS, macOS and frequently used apps so you have the latest security updates. And check your passwords to ensure they are strong enough to protect you.
Not paying at the pump
Credit card foamers with alarming frequency have been found at petrol pumps nationwide. These devices are designed to look like real card readers and are physically embedded in the petrol pumps themselves. Skimmers are designed to steal credit card information, which is then used by criminals to make false purchases. If you are going to be on the road and fill in the tank more than usual (especially at busy service places), consider prepaying inside or just using cash.
Free WiFi can cost you [1
Beware of your email
When traveling, you may be asked for your email address of hotels, museums or restaurants, often as part of the registration process or to receive a discount or campaign. Sometimes this is useful, but often it does not serve any purpose other than to let marketing departments close you with additional offers and promotions – or worse, share your information with third parties. Consider opting out of your email address or creating a "burner email" (an email account you can waste later on) for your travels.
Ask app averse
These days it seems that everyone has an app, even if they don't really need one! When traveling, some new apps can be useful: city guides and museum apps can really enhance your visit. But many apps have too much access to your personal data, or end up sending you unwanted emails later. Before you download an app, ask yourself if you really need it – and whether you trust the source. And protect your privacy: Don't use your Facebook or Google account to sign in. Log in directly with your burner and a strong password.
Prepare for the worst
The journey is hectic and tourist hotspots are magnets for thieves. Losing a MacBook or iPhone is very easy, or worse, getting stolen. But Apple has some powerful tools to help you … if you use them. Before you travel, Find My iPhone enables all of your Apple devices. If your device is lost or stolen, this functionality can be used to track it (even disconnected) or render it unusable for thieves who wish to resell it.
Protect the Mac!
If you are using a macOS device in unknown locations or in public WiFi networks, you should be prepared for increased security risk. Make sure you have strong third party antivirus protection on your system. If you do not have one and are going for the trip, consider downloading the trial version of a recognized AV solution to cover you while traveling (SecureMac offers a 30-day free trial of MacScan 3).
The last thing you want to tackle on vacation is malware, identity theft, and credit card fraud. Follow the tips above to make sure your free time is as stress free as you deserve – and enjoy your vacation!