What a year it has been, and it's safe to say most of us are looking forward to the summer break.
Unfortunately, that includes less savoury elements of society who see the holidays as a great opportunity to plunder people whose guards are down because, you know, they just want to relax and have a good time.
That's always been the case but technology is increasingly abused to facilitate crime.
Thing is, tech can be used for good and bad. This is why many things including security software and testing are officially regulated as weapons under the Wassenaar Arrangement.
It's called dual use, but you sometimes wonder if quite a bit more should be included in that term, like Bluetooth.
In fact, Bluetooth is one of those technologies that I wish would be replaced sooner rather than later, from a security perspective. Search for "Bluetooth vulnerabilities" if you want to know why it's a good thing not leaving it on all the time.
Bluetooth is on just about every device imaginable, including the smartphones, tablets and laptops that you'd rather not have stolen.
No elite hacking skills are required to steal your stuff with a little help from Bluetooth.
All that's required is one of many Bluetooth scanning apps available in Google's Play Store or the Apple App Store which are perfectly legit and useful too.
Because Bluetooth devices advertise to the world what they can do and who made them, bad people can figure out if the gear sending out invisible signals is worth stealing. It's even possible to work out where Bluetooth devices are hidden with the help of the signal strength.
It works really well (and I found a lost pair of earbuds) although a "BlueBurglar" walking around a carpark scanning vehicles with a smartphone isn't half suspicious. You don't need to be near Bluetooth-enabled devices however: the range of the wireless tech is between 50 to 125 metres.
If you have to leave your phone or tablet somewhere not 100 per cent safe, switch off Bluetooth. MacBook and Dell XPS laptops switch off Bluetooth when you close the lids, but manually disabling it on those too won't hurt.
Apple Airpods Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds, though, don't have an on and off switch. Nor is there a way to switch them off via your smartphone, which is a miss. The same goes for those handy Tile trackers that are helpful for locating your car and house keys that you might not want others to find. Maybe leave them at home.
If you travel with Bluetooth-capable electronics, installing a scanner app and running it near your car or luggage to see what pops up.
Before setting off, make sure you enable two- or multi-factor authentication on all devices and try to avoid receiving authentication codes via SMS texts. These can be intercepted, especially if someone pops out your SIM or ports your number. A world of pain awaits you if that happens, as barrister and former Cabinet minister Matt Robson found out earlier this year.
Switching off notifications on the lock screen if they reveal too much information is a good idea.
Enable encryption of device storage if you haven't already, and also use a six-digit or longer PIN that's hard to guess. Not "123456" or similar please. On iPhones, you can trigger a device erase after 10 failed attempts at entering the PIN.
Hidden in the iOS settings for changing the PIN on iPhones is the option to use letters as well as numbers, an additional security feature that Android makers don't appear to have copied. This makes it much harder to guess your PIN, at a cost of convenience as it takes longer to enter it as well.
If worst comes to worst and you need to recover from having a device nicked, make sure you have fresh encrypted backups of the device stored locally and in a trusted cloud in case.
As a last line of defence, enable remote wiping and locking on your device. There's much grim satisfaction to be had when you tap the confirm button and know that your smartphone is locked hard and fast and useless in the wrong hands.
On iPhones, this is done through your iCloud account on the web. Samsung has a similar Find My Mobile feature, and Google has the Android Device Manager for remotely erasing and locking smartphones. Be aware, though, that memory cards in smartphones might not get erased so don't store anything sensitive on those.
Yes the above is a hassle but having smartphones and other tech with you on a break still have benefits that make it worthwhile … or do they? Happy holidays either way.