5 Security Mistakes to Avoid on Spring Break

Spring Break is approaching quickly, and many students are looking forward to beating the weather by vacationing somewhere else. However, before you run off to sun and sandy beaches, learn how to avoid mistakes that can make your identity an unexpected casualty of your trip.

  • Leaving your smartphone, mobile device, or laptop under someone else’s watch.

It doesn’t take much time to steal a device. This is especially true in crowded areas full of unfamiliar people, such as buses, subways, airports, beaches, and bars. To stay on the safe side, keep your electronic devices either on your person or under lock and key.

  • Keeping all of your data on your laptop or personal device.

As a rule of thumb, you should only travel carrying the information you absolutely need. This will cut down on the amount of your information that is at risk over the course of your trip. For the information you must take with you, be sure to make back ups prior to leaving home. If something happens to your devices--whether malicious or accidental--you won’t be able to retrieve the data without a back up.

  • Connecting to any and every available network.

It is easy for someone to view what you are doing while on an open network. Whenever possible, connect to trusted networks, such as those provided by your hotel or the Kent State University VPN. As a tip, most trustworthy networks can only be accessed with a password. If you choose not to use a trusted network, avoid visiting any sites requiring login information.

  • Leaving home without checking your device’s firewall and/or antivirus.

Because there may be times when you need to connect to an unsecured network, make sure your firewall and antivirus are enabled and up to date. This will help protect your computer--and the information it contains--from attack.

  • Ignoring the security features provided by your device.

Because we generally stay signed into applications on our mobile devices, they are a rich source of personal information for an identity thief. A very simple way to protect your devices is to require a PIN or password to unlock it. Additionally, encryption should be used whenever possible.