Q&A with TrendMicro about the importance of securing your smart phone when abroad

Most backpackers think that a simple pin on their mobile phone is enough to protect them if they lose their smart phone. Backpacker Trade News spoke to Aman Chand who works directly with TrendMicro’s threat team about the security risks when using your phone abroad.   

As more and more travellers use their phones to book accommodation, check-in for flights, upload photos onto social media platforms, what are the risks they might be unaware of?

While traveling we are more open to making new friends, and often we would even add people who we haven’t met in person. It’s very important to check the privacy settings to make sure they are not sharing too much information. Social media contains a lot of personal information and if your identity is stolen you might not find out about it either until you are back home or your credit card suddenly stops working when you are in far north Queensland.

What is the biggest mistake travellers make when using their mobile phones while theyre abroad? 

Unfortunately travellers have a high propensity of having their phones lost or stolen, as they are moving from place to place and are generally more adventurous. The biggest mistake is underestimating the value of the information which resides on their phones. As the cost of having data on mobiles comes down more and more travellers are now using their phones as their primary connection back to their “real” lives at home. They often use their phones to transfer money from their bank accounts back home to Australian accounts.  They use social media and emails to communicate to their friends and family and use their credit cards to book their travel plans.

What are your tips for travellers when using their phones abroad?

Switch off data roaming if you don’t have a local SIM. Have some level of security on their phones, a PIN number to lock the phone is a great start. Back-up the information on their phones, this way they have access to those impromptu photos they took, the friends (contacts) they made on their travels.

How can travellers protect themselves?

Travellers are very conscious of budget so I would highly recommend that travellers get the basic level of security. There are cheap/free ways to do this:

Put a PIN number on your device.

Install the free version of mobile security from TrendMicro.

Install the free TrendMicro Mobile Back-up solution. You can find both of these via the Google play store.

If you feel you need more protection the trend Micro solution can cost as little as $29.95 for 12 months and if you do take your devices back home it will still work.

To read more about TrendMicro, head here.

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