Home and abroad: Travel safety for your mobile devices

It’s that time of the year when many football fans around the globe are preparing to support their national team’s as events kick off.  Whether you’re lucky enough to be heading to Russia to experience the atmosphere, simply meeting up with friends down at the local pub or to watch the matches on a big screen, it’s a time to enjoy national pride and leave all your worries at home.

Unfortunately, some worries you can’t leave behind and may follow you if you are traveling at home or abroad with mobile devices that aren’t secured physically or digitally.

Losing your smartphone or laptop could increase your risk of identity theft due to having personal data fall into the wrong hands. So here are five tips to help the data on your mobile devices stay safe during this football driven summer:

1. Install passwords/passcodes on mobile devices before leaving home

Doing this is your first line of defense while away from home. In the event that your laptop or phone is left unattended, lost or stolen, a would-be criminal will have a much harder time getting into your device if there’s a password lock set. Doing this is simple and takes little time.

2. Turn off automatic Bluetooth connectivity

Bluetooth on your smartphone is great for wire free headphones at home where it’s safe to communicate with your other electronic devices. However, most of us forget to turn Bluetooth off when we go to public places. With your Bluetooth connectivity left open, anyone sitting in a hotel lobby or nearby coffee shop could pick up that signal and gain access to your phone and the information on it. This can happen without your knowledge. One of the best ways to avoid the threat is to turn this feature off when you don’t need it.

3. Use a VPN on public Wi-Fi

If you’re like most people, you’ll have one eye on the match and the other on your smartphone as post-match analysis of the games come in. Chances are you’ll be connecting to public W-Fi to save on data.  However, public Wi-Fi is inherently insecure. You’re relying on whoever set up the Wi-Fi hotspot and network to have taken security measures during installation. Worse still, you could be logged on to a public network set up by a hacker who is just waiting to spy on and steal your information. A good way to secure your information on public Wi-Fi is to use a virtual private network, or VPN, like Norton Secure VPN. VPNs encrypt the data that enters and leaves your Wi-Fi connected device, encoding your sensitive information so eavesdroppers cannot read it.

4. Be careful of scam sites

Travel, tickets, streaming matches – These are all areas scammers love to target the unsuspecting public. Wherever possible always buy tickets from an official website as when purchasing through a third party or a reseller it’s often difficult to ascertain if the tickets are legitimate. If you are worried about the legitimacy of a website, Google it, establish that it has a contact phone number and a physical office address and check for user reviews on an independent website. If you’re looking for free online streams of a match, be careful of scam websites that ask you to download ad-ons or ask for your credit card details.

5. Store devices safely

Some hotel rooms have a safe for storing sensitive documents or important keepsakes while traveling. Use the safe to store any smart devices or tech you won’t need for the day: phones, laptops, USBs, external hard drives, or wearables.

When you’re out and about, never leave your devices unattended and store them safely in your bag or pocket to avoid an unwanted theft.

6. Don’t stress about security risks

The worst thing you can do while enjoying this summer’s football is obsess over your mobile security. It’s not fun, and it won’t be fun for the friends with you. Be sure to have reputable Internet security, such as Norton Security Deluxe or Norton Mobile Security, on your laptop, tablet or smartphone before you travel — and leave your device protection to the experts so you can enjoy the football without a worry.