Traveling this summer? 4 tips to protect your personal data

(BPT) - Since the pandemic began, you’ve likely been more connected to your digital devices than ever before. From work meetings and virtual happy hours to online shopping, more events and transactions are taking place digitally. And as connectivity and device adoption continues to rise, it’s important to understand the cyber risks and how to best protect your personal data and information, especially when it comes to planning your summer travel.

“As travel becomes an actual possibility for people once again, it’s an opportunity to remember just how important maintaining digital wellness and security is outside the home,” said Judith Bitterli, senior vice president of consumer marketing for McAfee. “Whether people are at home or away this summer, there will be banking to do, chances to shop online and moments to stream shows and movies. A simple mindset shift goes a long way in protecting our personal information.”

From short-term rentals and staycations to international travel, take steps to actively protect your devices and data this summer travel season and beyond. To help you take initiative in maintaining your digital wellness, McAfee offers several tips to protect yourself at all connection points whether you’re out on the road or simply staying at home.

Connect with caution

The hotel where you stay or café where you catch up on emails might boast about their fast, free Wi-Fi, but always be wary of public Wi-Fi connections. When you’re traveling, make sure the Wi-Fi is secure and attached to a trusted source. And while you’re connected to a public network, never conduct any financial transactions or share any personal details. If you can, use incognito or private browsing mode to keep any details from being saved while you’re using public Wi-Fi.

Consider a holistic security solution

Understand what tools are available to you in order to give you peace of mind that your identity and personal information across all of your devices are safeguarded. Mobile security systems offer antivirus, identity protection, secure VPN connections and even gamer security.

Update your software

Before you travel, check for any software and security updates on your devices. Those annoying prompts are there for a reason — don’t ignore them. Updates often fix security bugs and seal up cracks in the system that may affect your digital wellness. Be sure to run the updates while your device is plugged in and securely connected to the internet.

Protect your devices and keep them close

Distracted vacationers are the perfect target for thieves looking to steal devices, from phones and laptops to tablets and gaming systems. First, set up a PIN code or password for all your devices. On your laptop, use a long password with numbers and symbols that isn’t easy to guess. Additionally, check to make sure your accounts have multi-factor authentication — which double-checks the authenticity of a user trying to log in — in case your device gets in the wrong hands.

A little effort goes a long way in preserving your digital wellness. Before you travel this summer, follow these tips and spend some extra time setting up your devices and security plans to ensure your personal information is secure.

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