Protecting your Family from Cyber Threats

I’ve been noticing a lot more families on the San Antonio Riverwalk, which tells me summer is officially here. With any hope, summer is a time families can spend together, given school is out and vacation season is in effect. As you lather down the little ones with sunscreen and gear up for that long road trip, be sure you are also aware of threats that are harder to see, but are just as — if not more — threatening than the elements: hackers and cyber criminals.

If you’re anything like me, you use mobile devices on vacation for just about everything: navigating, researching points of interests or (in my case best restaurants, movies, music and summer reading) and when possible, you connect to Wi-Fi. And not just you, but your family does too. You may be following cybersecurity best practices at work because you have to, but are you doing the same at home or on vacation? If you’re not, or you don’t even know where to begin, here are three tips to ensure you are protecting your family from cyber criminals so you can focus on relaxing:

  • Don’t connect to public Wi-Fi unless you are connected using a VPN. Connecting to public, unsecure Wi-Fi without a VPN is one of the biggest mistakes people unintentionally make when away from their home network. With mobile devices designed to search for networks to connect to without additional steps from the user, we may not even know what networks we connect to natively. To combat this, be sure your wifi is only turned on when you are using it and connecting with a secure VPN. Don’t have a VPN? Feel free to contact us for help, we can help advise.

  • Be aware of social media content. We need to be careful of what we post. Being conscious of what we or our family members post is particularly significant when on vacation. Your family members may be excited to document and show the world every step they take on their adventure via social media, but they may be unintentionally letting the world also know that no one is home, or worse, where in the world they are at that very moment.

  • Keep your location private. Along the same lines as the previous tip, geo-tagging features, particularly in vacation apps such as TripAdvisor and Airbnb, as well as networks and devices, can broadcast your location. Be sure your settings are always set to “private” and that you have ways to enforce rules around those settings with those in your family.

Remember, you may be taking a vacation, but that doesn’t mean criminals are. If you have a mindful cyber presence, though, you can prevent a world of harm and can ensure a peaceful, enjoyable time with your friends and family. Safe and happy travels!

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