Taking a break from the office doesn’t mean taking a break from cybersecurity. Whether you’re at home for the holidays or spending some much-needed time away, there’s always time to check in with your digital security measures.

Cozzie? Check. Plakkies? Check. Security? … Check!

Start by looking at your security settings. This includes the settings on your device and all the apps and web services you may use. Have a look at your post sharing options and decide who you want to view your posts. You might want to change some of your usual privacy or security settings if you’re going away, like your location settings for posts and pictures.

Password Protect… Everything

Start with your device itself. Use a number PIN, pattern, password, or face recognition to protect your device. Now might also be a good time to do some password management. Update any passwords that need updating with new, strong, secure, and unique passwords or phrases.

This is quite a momentous task, and forgetting passwords is one of my personal favourite pastimes, so I recommend using a free password manager to take the load off. Services like LastPass allow you to store all your passwords in one vault, using a “master password” to access it. LastPass can also generate complex and unique passcodes that can be used with your accounts and stored in your vault.

Back it (your data) Up!

Contacts, pictures, emails, documents; anything you wouldn’t like to lose if your device had to be stolen, lost, broken, or otherwise inaccessible. Before embarking on your vacation, back up all your device contents. This can be done by backing up data to the cloud, backing it up on an external hard drive, or preferably, both.

Lessen the Risk

If you’re heading out for the holidays, lighten the load and lessen the risk. The more devices you pack with you, means the more devices that could possibly end up broken, stolen, or lost. On any devices you do choose to take, ensure that you have some sort of tracking feature available for it. Whether it be the iOS “find my” feature, Google’s “Find My Device” app, or even Life360, make sure that your device’s location is shared with at least one trusted person not going on the trip. That way, even if you somehow lose access to every device you took with you, they can still be located.

This is essentially a “pre-trip check” to get everything ready to go, but here are some general digital safety tips to remember whilst you’re enjoying your holiday:

Keep Them Safe

Keep them safe at home and on holiday. Never leave your devices unattended when you’re traveling. If you’re staying in a hotel, there will more than likely be a safe in your room, so try to keep your devices locked away in that at night and if you plan on leaving the room.

Stay Up to Date

You don’t have to worry about constantly checking the news while you’re away, but you should try to stay on top of software updates. Software updates generally come with necessary privacy and security patches.

Think Before You Post  

You should really think twice about “live-posting” your vacation. Any images that contain location identifiable information, or disclose that your house may potentially be empty, should only be posted once you’ve left that location.

If you’re at home for the holidays, avoid sharing pictures that could disclose the location of your address or house.

Public Wi-Fi is Just That, Public

There’s no knowing who may be lurking on public network servers. It’s a good idea to avoid public Wi-Fi networks in general, but if you find yourself needing to use one, use a VPN. Do not make any online purchases or log into any key accounts, like online banking and email accounts. This goes for public computers, too. If you need to use a public computer in a hotel or at an internet café, be sure to log out of any accounts you may have accessed.