How to Protect Your Data While Traveling?
How do you protect your data while traveling? Chances are, when going on a trip (yes, even while on vacation), you will have your laptop with you or even a smartphone or tablet PC to allow you easy access to work files and emails. And with technology being where it is these days, it’s quite easy for travelers to get Wi-Fi or internet access while traveling. Airports, hotels, malls, and other public venues are now hotspots that provide instant Web access.
But then again you have to ask yourself: Doesn’t the convenience come with a price? Are you in fact, putting your business or personal data at risk? Answer to this is YES. You have to remember that the public hotspot you are currently using is also being utilized by many other individuals. And if someone with malicious intent attempts to hack or gain access to any of the data being sent over the wireless network, he could certainly do so. Further, constantly bringing your laptop with you obviously puts you at risk for theft.
easySERVICE™ researchers have come up with a list of data security tips for travelers like you. These tips will help you keep your data safe while traveling and should defeat this particular threat like a pop-up appears as you are signing in to the hotel Internet and asks you to update software which is actually a malware infection.
To lessen the chances of losing data or falling victim to hackers, here are some tips to help protect your data while traveling:
- Keep your laptop closely guarded. Laptops are portable, and therefore thin and light, and basically, easy to get from right under your nose. To physically safeguard your laptop from thieves, nothing works better than making sure it’s close to you at all times.
- Avoid using computer bags. They are easy to spot and can make it obvious that you're carrying a laptop. Try something more common, like a padded briefcase or suitcase.
- Use strong passwords, and do not keep them in your laptop bag. Strong passwords that are difficult to break or guess can thwart unauthorized access to individual files and even to the entire operating system
- Use a screen guard. These guards help prevent someone from seeing your screen even if he or she peeks over your shoulder.
- If you feel the need to sleep while in trains or public transports, put your laptop in its designated bag first and then wrap the bag’s strap around your arm
- Avoid setting your laptop on the floor. Putting your laptop on the floor is an easy way to forget or lose track of it as you talk at a ticket counter or order your latte.
- Try not to leave your laptop in your hotel room. Too many things have been lost in hotel rooms. These rooms may not be completely secure. Don’t leave your laptop at the front desk, either.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware tools. Make sure your operating system and antivirus software are updated before you go on the road. Don't assume your laptop is safe from malware when traveling just because it is a Mac.
- Use online backup and storage. Backup your data before you head out and store the backup in a safe place like online back-up. When you know that your important files and data are being automatically and regularly backed up, you can always rest easy knowing that whatever happens, you won’t ever have to deal with the consequences of data loss.
- Do you need all of your data on your trip? Consider leaving some data behind or move sensitive data from your laptop hard drive to an encrypted USB stick.
- Use encryption technology. Make sure you have password protection and inactivity timeout engaged on all devices including laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
- Hotel’s internet Service. If possible, only use reputable hotel Internet service providers (ask the hotel who their provider is before you book). If the hotel Internet asks you to update software in order to connect, immediately disconnect and tell the front desk. If you use hotel Internet to connect to your company network use a VPN.
- Avoid using public networks when transmitting sensitive information. Do not use WiFi connections that are not encrypted with WPA (avoid WEP encrypted connections which are easily hacked). This rule applies even when you’re not on the road and you’re simply accessing the web through a coffee shop or from your hotel room. Consider getting a 3G or 4G hotspot and using that instead of hotel Internet.
- Avoid online banking and shopping while on any hotel or public Internet connection.
- Disable pop-ups in your web browser.