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6 Spring break device safety tips

6 spring break device safety tips

3/27/2014

Before taking off to exotic travel destinations for spring break, it always helps to have a well-formed plan in mind. When you create an itinerary and book hotels and flights in advance, you can prevent future worries and enjoy a stress-free vacation.

Don't forget to account for your mobile devices in your spring break plan. Travel tends to put individuals in high-risk situations for phone theft and fraud, incidents that many phone insurance plans do not cover. Identity theft seems to grow in prominence each year, which is why it is crucial for spring breakers to make mobile device security a top priority in 2014.

Here are a few tips to help you stay secure during your spring getaway.

Stay up-to-date with antivirus protection
Most people recognize the value that antivirus software provides for their laptops and desktop PCs. Unfortunately, not as many understand that these security programs are just as essential on their smartphones and tablets, if not more so. Malware developers are shifting their targets from PCs to mobile devices since poorly protected consumer apps offer easy access to personal data. Cybercriminals constantly find new ways of circumventing security walls, but smartphone owners can combat their efforts by upgrading to the latest versions of antivirus programs. Mobile users can also benefit from using newer Web browsers and operating systems, which may be better equipped to prevent malware infection.

Review app conditions thoroughly
Smartphone apps have made travel planning easier than ever before, letting mobile users book last-minute dining reservations, find exciting sites to visit and document spring break experiences with photos and journal entries. However, it is important to review the privacy policies of apps before downloading them. Requests to send SMS messages to premium numbers could be signs that the app was created by cybercriminals.

Don't let criminals find you
Stop Think Connect advised mobile users to consider disabling the geotagging features on their phones. Many smartphone owners might not realize that by taking photos and posting them online, they often publish highly specific information about their whereabouts, sometimes down to the exact longitude and latitude.

Don't trust public Wi-Fi
Be careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi spots at airports, hotels and tourist sites, as these networks are often key parts of cybercriminals' attacks. If you must access them, be sure to tighten security settings and avoid entering credit card information or other personal data. Additionally, try to only access sites that are security-enabled. Encrypted webpages have addresses that begin with "https" rather than "http."

Use common sense
Never leave phones unattended while traveling. This may seem obvious, but it is easy to forget that you placed your device down while distracted by the excitement of spring break activities. Also, make sure that your phone is protected with a strong passcode and encryption features. If you receive a text from an unknown number asking for personal information, just ignore it.

Defend your identity with ProtectCELL
​As fraudsters become stealthier in their methods of accessing data, mobile users will want to do everything they can to safeguard their personal information. iPhone and T Mobile insurance might not help, but ProtectCELL's identity theft program can. With ProtectCELL, fraud victims are paired with dedicated resolution specialists, who can help them recover their identities and find the crooks responsible. No one expects to have their identities stolen, but it happens more often than many think. The old "better safe than sorry" adage has particular relevance in the world of fraud, so be sure to stay on the safe side by subscribing to a ProtectCELL plan.

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