Despite some of us have already had a small taste of our summer vacation, most people in the northern hemisphere will start theirs very soon, so I’d like to take this opportunity to give you a few tips for you to enjoy your well-deserved rest with complete peace of mind.
- Before anything else, back up your important information. You never know what might happen (unforeseen accidents, theft of your electronic devices, etc.)
- Password-protect your devices. Many of you will be taking your laptops, tablets, etc. with you, so password-protect them to prevent others from accessing your data in case of theft or loss.
- Use caution with social networking sites:People give out too much information about their holiday plans on social networking sites, even tipping criminals off about their empty homes. Check your privacy settings and avoid sharing private information on social networks.
- Install parental controls. Children spend more time in front of computers during summer vacation. Installing a good parental control program on the computer will help minimize children’s vulnerability on the Internet.
- If you can avoid it, never use a shared computer: If using a shared or public computer on vacation is a must, prevent identity theft by making sure your account doesn’t automatically save your password and user ID. If you suspect the computer’s security has been compromised by a virus, leave it and use another. Take care when connecting an external device to the computer, as it may become infected without your knowledge.
- Take care with email: Email is one of the main virus entry points, so pay special attention to it. Do not open messages from unknown senders or click on dubious links.
- Beware of public Wi-Fi networks. With a Wi-Fi network you never know who else is connected to the same network and if someone is monitoring network traffic. When you connect to email, social networking sites or online stores, make sure you are using a secure connection (https), so that traffic is encrypted and no one else can access the information. The safest thing to do is use a VPN connection that encrypts all information coming out of your device.
- Keep your computer up-to-date: Malware seeks to exploit existing security holes in systems to infect them. Make sure all necessary security patches and updates are properly installed. If you left your computer at home, this is the first thing you should do as soon as you turn it on again.