- Only 25.2 per cent of Germans back up mobile phone holiday photos in the cloud
- Most users do not have a display lock set up and
- Only one third (33.2 per cent) back up smartphone data
Most travellers always have their smartphones with them – at home and abroad. Many still share photos and videos from the beach or trips via social media. Personal data and photos are exposed to a high risk, which only a minority of users counter by taking appropriate precautions. This is shown by a recent survey by eco Association and the market and opinion company Civey. Only 45.9 per cent of the users have set up a screen lock on their smartphone and only one third of Germans (33.2 per cent) back up their data. Still, 62 per cent regularly install software updates and only a quarter (25.2 per cent) back up holiday pictures in the cloud.
“The risk of losing your smartphone is higher when you are on holidaya. If you haven’t backed up your data and pictures in the cloud or on another device, you will lose everything irretrievably if you lose your mobile phone,” says Markus Schaffrin, security expert and Head of Member Services at eco – Association of the Internet Industry. All users of mobile devices should also set up a screen lock or encrypt the smartphone, which newer operating systems offer, otherwise criminals can access sensitive data and applications, such as online banking, email or social media accounts. “Cloud services are the best option to back up one’s photos and videos. There is a wide range of free providers,” says Schaffrin, who gives eight concrete tips for protecting your smartphone when travelling:
- A screen lock prevents unauthorised access to the mobile phone. Access to the mobile phone is therefore only possible with a code or biometrically via fingerprint or facial recognition. In addition, the PIN requirement for the SIM card should be kept. However, it is only required when the mobile phone has been switched off.
- Install updates automatically. Set your smartphone to notify you of updates or to install them directly on its own. The updates not only include new functions, but also important security updates. Activate automatic updates via WiFi only if you want to save mobile data.
- Make backups in the cloud. Protect yourself from data loss by storing all photos, videos, calendar data and contacts online in the cloud. There are many providers that do this for you, for example iCloud, Google Drive, Amazon Photos or OneDrive. Depending on the provider, you can configure this under Settings / Backup and Restore.
- Only trust apps from the official stores, such as Google Play or the Apple App Store. Do not follow links that take you to other app download portals. Search for apps directly in the official app stores. Disable installation of apps of unknown origin in the settings.
- Keep track of which permissions each app needs – for example, access to contacts, camera or location. Many apps collect more data than seems necessary at first glance. The permissions can be restricted in the smartphone settings even after installation.
- Encrypt the memory of your smartphone, so that no one can read personal data in case of device loss. More recent operating systems automatically encrypt user data if desired in order to protect emails, contacts, photos, downloads or access data. Older smartphones can be manually encrypted in the settings. Don’t forget the SD card in the unit, which also contains personal data and photos.
- No online banking in open WiFi. You can surf for free in an open WiFi network, but also makes it relatively easy for someone to read your data traffic. Refrain from home banking and all services that require you to log in, such as online shopping or emails in any open or public WiFi networks. It’s better postpone such tasks until you are back home or use the data connection of your mobile phone contract.
- If you have lost your mobile phone or it has been stolen, you can locate it remotely and also lock it to prevent access to your user data. To do this on Android, go to android.com/find; similarly, on IOS, log on to iCould.com/find. Here you have the option to locate your device remotely and flag it as lost.