Keeping devices safe during travel can be overlooked in the rush of preparation, but it is essential to be vigilant when travelling with your personal devices. Having a device tampered with, duplicated, or stolen is a great risk to organizations and individuals. When planning to bring devices such as laptops, tablets and phones with you, consider the amount of information stored on your work or personal devices. Ask yourself “Do I need to bring all of this data with me?”
Only take what you need with you. If you have external USB drives with backups of data such as tax returns, research data or financial information, leave them behind. If you need a data storage device for the trip, you can get a fresh drive that doesn’t contain that sensitive information. That way your personal data is not at risk of being lost to criminals that are out of your normal jurisdiction.
Using a temporary device, or “loaner”, may reduce the risk of data loss. While a “loaner” device not only allows you to work and prevent unauthorized access to data, it can also be wiped clean upon returning home to prevent malware from spreading to internal networks.
Hang on to it or lock it up. Mobile devices and data may be necessary for your travel, but there are most likely times when you may not need a USB drive or laptop on your person. If you do not plan to keep devices with you, in direct sight, lock it up. Use a hotel room safe or guest safe, if available. Keep in mind that potential threats are always present:
- A room may not be adequately secured, such as a room containing locks that can be picked or electronically compromised.
- A person may be compromised, such as cleaning personnel bribed by an attacker.
- A thief may be waiting nearby, should you happen to slip up (even just once).
Use Precaution when connecting to WiFi
- Think before you connect. Connecting to a wireless network that is unsecured will expose your information and device.
- Be careful when using public wireless networks or Wi-Fi hotspots; they’re not secure, so anyone could potentially see what you’re doing on your computer or mobile device while you’re connected.
- Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use. Some stores and other locations search for devices with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled to track your movements when you’re within range.
When you return:
- Change any and all passwords you may have used abroad.
- Run full antivirus scans on your devices.
- If you used a credit card while traveling, check your monthly statements for any discrepancies for at least one year after you return.
- If you downloaded any apps specifically for your trip and no longer need them, be sure to delete those apps and the associated data.
- Post all of your photos on social media and enjoy reliving the experience!