We all like to travel with our mobile devices (smartphones, laptops, or tablets) — whether it’s to the coffee shop around the corner or to a café in Paris. These devices make it easy for us to stay connected while on the go, but they can also store a lot of information — including contacts, photos, videos, location, and other personal and financial data — about ourselves and our friends and family. Following are some ways to protect yourself and others.
Before you go:
If possible, do not take your work or personal devices with you on international trips. If you do, remove or encrypt any confidential data.
For international travel, consider using temporary devices, such as an inexpensive laptop and a prepaid cell phone purchased specifically for travel. (For business travel, your employer may have specific policies about device use and traveling abroad.)
Install a device finder or manager on your mobile device in case it is lost or stolen. Make sure
it has remote wipe capabilities and that you know how to do a remote wipe.
Ensure that any device with an operating system and software is fully patched and up-to-date with security software.
Makes copies of your travel documents and any credit cards you’re taking with you. Leave the copies with a trusted friend, in case the items are lost or stolen.
Keep prying eyes out! Use strong passwords, passcodes, or smart-phone touch ID to lock and protect your devices.
Avoid posting social media announcements about your travel plans; such announcements make you an easy target for thieves. Wait until you’re home to post your photos or share details about your trip.
While you’re there:
Physically protect yourself, your devices, and any identification documents (especially your passport).
Don’t use an ATM unless you have no other option; instead, work with a teller inside the bank. If you must use an ATM, only do so during daylight hours and ask a friend to watch your back. Also check the ATM for any skimming devices, and use your hand to cover the number pad as you enter your PIN.
It’s hard to resist sharing photos or telling friends and family about your adventures, but it’s best to wait to post about your trip on social media until you return home.
Never use the computers available in public areas, hotel business centers, or cyber cafés since they may be loaded with keyloggers and malware. If you use a device belonging to other travelers, colleagues, or friends, do not log in to e-mail or any sensitive accounts.
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.
Keep your devices with you at all times during your travels. Do not assume they will be safe in your hotel room or in a hotel safe.
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!
With an increasing amount of sensitive data being stored on mobile devices, the value and mobility of smartphones, tablets, and laptops make them appealing and easy targets. These simple tips will help you be prepared in case your mobile device is lost or stolen or misplaced.
Don’t leave your device alone, even for a minute! If you’re not using it, lock your device in a cabinet or drawer, use a security cable, or take it with you. It’s not enough to simply ask the stranger next to you in a library or coffee shop to watch your laptop for a few minutes.
Differentiate your device. It’s less likely that someone will steal your device and say they thought it belonged to them if your device looks unique. Sometimes these markings make the laptop harder to resell, so they’re less likely to be stolen. Use a permanent marking, engraving, or tamper-resistant commercial asset tracking tag.
Delete sensitive information. Don’t keep any restricted data on your laptop. We recommend searching your computer for restricted data and deleting it. Restricted data includes your Social Security number, credit card numbers, network IDs, passwords, and other personally identifiable information. You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget that this information is on your computer!
Back it up. Set a reminder to backup your data on a regular basis! Keep an external copy of important files stored on your laptop in a safe location in case it is lost or stolen. Your photos, papers, research, and other files are irreplaceable, and losing them may be worse than losing your device.
Encrypt information. Protect your personal data with the built-in disc encryption feature included with your computer’s operating system (e.g., BitLocker or FileVault).
Record the serial number. Jot down the serial number of your device and store it in a safe place. This information can be useful for verifying your device if it’s found.
Install software. Install and use tracking and recovery software included with most devices (e.g., the “Find iDevice” feature in iOS) or invest in commercial products like LoJack or Prey. Some software includes remote-wipe capabilities. This feature allows you to log on to an online account and delete all of the information on your laptop. There are both paid and free versions of this type of software, and each provides different levels of features. Search online to find the best combination of cost and functions to meet your needs.
If you have question, please contact the Helpdesk at 432-837-8888.
Planning a summer vacation? People are frequently more vulnerable when traveling because a break from their regular routine or encounters with unfamiliar situations often result in less cautious behavior. If this sounds like you or someone you know, these five tips will help you protect yourself and guard your privacy.
Track that device! Install a device finder or manager on your mobile device in case it’s lost or stolen. Make sure it has remote wipe capabilities and also protects against malware.
Avoid social media announcements about your travel plans. It’s tempting to share your upcoming vacation plans with family and friends, but consider how this might make you an easy target for local or online thieves. While traveling, avoid using social media to “check in” to airports and consider posting those beautiful photos after you return home. Find out how burglars are using your vacation posts to target you in this infographic.
Traveling soon? If you’re traveling with a laptop or mobile device, remove or encrypt confidential information. Consider using a laptop or device designated for travel with no personal information, especially when traveling out of the country.
Limit personal information stored on devices. Use a tool like Identity Finder to locate your personally identifiable information (e.g., SSN, credit card numbers, or bank accounts) on your computer, then secure or remove that information.
Physically protect yourself and your devices. Use a laptop lock, avoid carrying identification cards, shred sensitive paperwork before you recycle it, and watch out for “shoulder surfers” at the ATM.
These tips can’t protect you from every possible scenario but they will provide some protections and give you ideas for others. The best advice of all … be aware.
Mobile devices have become one of the primary ways we communicate and interact with each other. The power of a computer is now at our fingertips, allowing us to bank, shop, view medical history, attend to work remotely, and communicate virtually anywhere. With all these convenient features come added risks, but here are some tips to protect your devices and your personal information.
Password-protect your devices. If you mobile device is ever lost or stolen, giving yourself more time to protect your data and remote wipe your device could be the difference between the pain of losing the device and the pain of losing much of your important information. Enabling passwords, PINs, fingerprint scans, or other forms of authentication will slow down anyone intent on getting to your personal information and give you more time to take action and remove personal or sensitive information from your device.
Backup data. Be sure to back up data on each device in case it is ever lost or stolen. If the original device is never found, you can restore the backed up data to a new one.
Verify app permissions. Don’t forget to review app specifications and privacy permissions before installing it!
Update operating systems. Security fixes or patches for mobile device operating systems are often included in these updates.
Be cautious of public Wi-Fi hot spots. Avoid financial or other sensitive transactions while connected to public Wi-Fi hot spots.