How to plan a cybersafe family holiday

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The accommodation is booked, the bags are (mostly) packed, and the kids are bouncing off the walls. It’s family holiday time – and while you’ve got a million and five things to think about, you’re also excited to spend some quality time with your loved ones.

However, something that’s unlikely to get a break are your digital devices - helping your family keep in contact, share photos, book tours, and play games. Unfortunately, your devices may also be exposed to some kind of attempted cybercrime. According to a recent report from leading internet infrastructure company Akamai, almost 40 percent of online traffic to airlines, hotels, cruise ships, travel, and transport sites was from a form of malicious bot – often used in harmful cyber-hacks and phishing scams.

To ensure your trip is less about hacking and more about relaxing, we’ve created a guide to planning the perfect - and secure - family holiday:

Store your memories somewhere safe

Losing family photos, videos or important personal information stored on a laptop, tablet or smartphone can be far more upsetting than losing the actual device. Before heading off, backup your and your family’s devices, and only take the devices on holiday that are completely essential.

Encrypted backups of your data, stored in a secure offline place, will mitigate the damage caused by a lost device, malware infestation, or ransomware attack.

Buy travel insurance

Believe us, things can and do go wrong. From something as small as a damaged smartphone, to the nightmare of losing a passport, to having to cancel your whole holiday, to an emergency resulting in medical bills exceeding $100 000, we’ve seen it all.

In the same way you should back up valuable data, it’s vital to back yourself and your family with comprehensive travel insurance. You can save money if you buy a policy together with your friends, partner, or family - and if something goes wrong on your trip, it’s easier to claim if you’re both insured by the same company and on the same policy.

Watch the Wi-Fi

Snooping on open Wi-Fi networks, or tricking people into connecting to fake “free” Wi-Fi, is a common way for cybercriminals to gain access to your device and personal data. Be sure to warn your kids of the cybersecurity risks around Wi-Fi, and ask them to check with you before choosing a network to connect with.

If you can, check with the staff at your accommodation, airport, or establishment you’re visiting. If they offer a secure, encrypted Wi-Fi network which requires a password, always choose to use this over open network options. If you see multiple variations of a network name that look almost the same, be careful – while one might be legitimate, the others are probably fake.

For total peace of mind while travelling, set up your family’s own Virtual Private Network (VPN) before hitting the road.

Make it memorable

If you’re taking time off work and spending your hard-earned cash, make sure you’re actually having a holiday or doing something that you’ll always remember. This especially applies to checking work emails. Not only will it stress you out on your holiday, but checking sensitive accounts or information, such as work emails or online banking, is highly risky when travelling.

If you have to do it, be sure to disable public Wi-Fi on your phone before accessing company systems or moving funds, and use your phone’s secure data allowance instead. Finally, remember to log out of all sensitive accounts before switching back to a free network service.

Be flexible, but plan your risk levels

We all let our hair down on holidays - and so we should! But before you go, know what sort of adventure activities you plan on doing and make sure you’re covered for it.

It’s important to always keep an eye on your belongings - never leave mobile devices unattended in public spaces. If your family does tend to misplace their belongings, an anti-theft software solution can help to track any mobile device that goes missing – and, if needed, wipe its contents remotely.

Enjoy a fun and safe family holiday

If you’re not currently using an antivirus solution, ESET Multi-Device Security offers excellent internet protection for all your PC, Mac and Android devices, and can be easily transferred to a new device anytime, anywhere.

Most importantly, be sure to kick back, relax, and have a great time travelling with your loved ones!