Spring break’s a time when students and adults alike abandon home base to explore new sites and snap Instagram-worthy selfies. But letting your hair down sometimes means letting your guard down, leaving your tech vulnerable to digital attacks, theft and damage.
Here are some of the other ways to keep your tech safe (and have your tech keep you safe) this spring break:
The lights are on, but nobody’s home
While you’re packing and prepping for the good times to come, it’s easy to forget about what you’re leaving behind. Don’t make that mistake.
Make sure your home is safe from potential theft or damage by investing in security features such as a connected security camera that you can check while you’re away. There are even with service providers that will keep an eye out for you.
Smart home technology can also help you hide some of the signs that you’re away from home. You can use a smart switch to turn lights on and off on a normal schedule, and you can use smart locks to let a neighbor put packages inside your home.
We want a beach, not a data breach
As for the tech you’re taking with you, preparation and common sense are key.
“Before you hit the airport, train station or highway, make sure to consider updating your most commonly used passwords to new, stronger passwords,” said Derek Meister, a Geek Squad Agent in Cleveland. “And if you don’t change beforehand, it’s probably a good idea to consider changing any passwords you used on a network you don’t control once you get home.”
Unsecured networks are more common than you might expect. It’s no secret that criminals love public Wi-Fi, like the kind you find at a coffee shop, the airport or your hotel. When you check in to your hotel, make sure you know the name of the official guest network and check often that you’re not connecting to imposter networks as you move throughout the hotel’s spaces.
Where possible, try to avoid accessing sensitive accounts — like your bank, credit card or email — when you’re on public Wi-Fi. If you do need to access that information, consider disconnecting from the public network and directly using a mobile broadband network, like the 3G, 4G or LTE connection on your smartphone.
Finally, always make sure the addresses you’re connecting to begin with “HTTPS.” The “S” is the important part, ensuring the connection is secured and encrypted.
Accidents will happen
No matter how much digital protection you give yourself, the real world can still pose a threat to your tech.
The easiest way to prevent against any accident or theft is to explore your warranty options when you purchase a device and invest in a Geek Squad protection plan. Don’t underestimate the value of protective accessories, such as waterproof phone cases, screen protectors and portable phone chargers. It’s also worth considering travel-worthy alternative tech like a GoPro that is designed to be used in all your adventures.
In the unfortunate case of theft, preventatively installing programs like Find My iPhone, Prey or Find My Device, or even placing small item trackers on your devices can be the difference between a reunion with your device and a trip to your nearest Best Buy store for a replacement.
Worried about losing all those precious photo memories? Pictures can easily be uploaded to a cloud storage site on an ongoing basis to free up space on your phone while ensuring those sunburnt selfies are safe in the case of a phone malfunction or misplacement.
Remember, Geek Squad Agents are always ready to help, so contact them anytime.