Summer vacations and conferences often involve travel, and when you’re traveling it is best to keep in mind the additional risks and challenges for keeping data safe. Security essentials for your travels should include methods of protecting data online – think of it as SPF 30 for your digital health. Remember, anyone can be the victim of a cyber-attack so it is important to always be aware of the best practices to help keep yourself and your data safe.
When packing remember to bring your own power adapter for your devices, such as your phone and laptop. This will prevent you from needing to use publicly available USB charging stations. Any USB connection could potentially compromise your device, exposing your private data. It is also best to charge your devices in a secure physical location that you trust or can keep an eye on them.
Similarly, it is important not to leave your devices laying around while you enjoy your trip. Consider locking them in a locker when you can’t have them on your person. Even a few minutes away can give potential time for someone to steal or tamper with your phone or laptop.
While at a hotel or other public space consider avoiding using public wifi networks. Using public networks leave you open to attacks over the unsecured network. This is a greater concern if you have any accounts that log in automatically or that access websites which remember your credentials. An appropriate alternative is creating a hot spot using your mobile device or, if available, a virtual private network — VPN for short. VPN’s are best if you need to access sensitive data while on your trip.
Consider waiting to post travel pictures until after your return, and similarly avoid publishing your location staus while away. Location services can be seen by potential thieves who could take advantage of the knowledge that you aren’t at home. Friends and family will be just as excited to see your pictures once you’ve returned.