Lessons to learn from my Mexican phone theft nightmare

My mom and I vacationed in Mexico last week. Our ~girl’s trip~ started pretty great. We laid on the beach, sipped on mineral water with lime (detox!), and vegged. On our third day, though, the trip took a very not cool turn. Someone broke into our hotel room while we were at dinner and stole my Galaxy S6. I panicked when I realized it was missing. Like, big-time panicked, and I’ll spare you the exact details of what went down, but following the initial theft reporting I immediately called T-Mobile from my mom’s phone.

Now, here’s where I’m going to make a confession: I have terrible operational security. When I realized my phone was gone forever I knew this would be my reckoning. Learn from me, readers.

Though I work as a cybersecurity/tech reporter, I’m also a pretty average human in the world outside this office. I’m slightly paranoid about the surveillance state, refuse to use my debit card at sketchy bar ATMs, and keep my front-facing laptop camera covered by masking tape. The government is probably watching me, and maybe so are cybercriminals, so yeah, I take precautions.