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Datalyst has been serving the Massachusetts area since 2010, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Protecting Your Tech While Traveling

Protecting Your Tech While Traveling

Traveling with tech gadgets has become a norm in today's digital age. However, this convenience comes with its own set of challenges. From securing your devices against physical theft to protecting your data from cyberthreats, there's a lot to consider.

In this guide, we'll explore practical tips and strategies to help you protect your tech while on the move.

Understanding Tech Travel Safety

Tech travel safety is about more than just keeping your devices physically safe (although that is a factor).

It also involves protecting your personal and sensitive data from potential cyberthreats. This includes securing your internet connections, managing your passwords effectively, and being cautious about the digital footprints you leave behind.

The Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi networks are a common feature in airports, hotels, and cafes. They offer convenience, but they also pose significant risks.

These networks are often unsecured, making it easy for everyone else on the network to see and intercept your data. This can lead to identity theft, financial loss, and other serious consequences… not exactly things you want your business exposed to.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a crucial tool for tech travel safety. It encrypts your internet connection, making it harder for hackers to intercept your data.

When you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, use a VPN. It will protect your data from prying eyes.

Choose a reliable VPN service provider. Some free VPNs may compromise your data. Remember, a good VPN is an investment in your online security.

Here are some tips to use public Wi-Fi safely:

  • Avoid accessing sensitive information, such as bank accounts or credit card details.
  • Use a VPN to encrypt your internet connection.
  • If your business provides its own VPN, use that—it’s likely much more secure than a consumer-grade VPN. 
  • Turn off automatic connection to Wi-Fi networks.
  • Avoid letting the general public see your screen, especially if you have sensitive information on it. 
  • Remember, your data is valuable. Protect it with the same care you would your physical belongings.
  • When in doubt, it’s a good idea to invest in a personal hotspot. Most cell phone carriers offer these devices for a small monthly fee, but usually, you can deactivate the service during the months you don’t plan on using them.

Protect Your Passwords

Passwords are the first line of defense in tech safety. They protect your devices and online accounts from unauthorized access.

However, many people use weak passwords or reuse them across multiple accounts. This makes it easier for hackers to gain access.

To manage your passwords effectively, use a password manager. It can generate strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts. Also, always enable two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security across any and all accounts. 

Prevent Theft and Unwanted Access to Your Devices

Protecting your tech involves more than just digital security. Physical safety is equally important.

When traveling, always keep your devices within sight. Avoid leaving them unattended in public places. If you need to step away from your laptop or another device for any length of time, lock the screen, and stow it away.

It’s a good idea to invest in good travel bags for your devices. There is a huge market for convenient slings, messenger bags, and backpacks that have secure, TSA-ready laptop and tablet compartments that are easy to get to, but also relatively secure. 

Here are some additional tips for physical device security:

  • Use biometric features like fingerprint or facial recognition for quick access.
  • Keep your devices in a secure, locked bag when not in use.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded places.
  • Use privacy screens to prevent others from viewing your screen.
  • Regularly check your devices for signs of tampering.
  • Avoid using public USB ports for charging your devices—this includes the ones at airports and even the built-in USB ports on lamps and end tables in hotels. These devices are very easy to manipulate and can push or pull data. Bring your own chargers and only use them!
  • The same goes for charging cables. A bad actor could sneak data-intercepting hardware into a cable if they wanted to and loan it out to someone in need at the airport.

Enable and Test Find My Device Before You Leave Home

Losing your device while traveling can be a nightmare. But with the 'Find My Device' feature, you can locate, ring, or wipe your device data remotely.

This feature is available on most operating systems. Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android all have this capability. Make sure it's activated before you travel. It's a simple step that can save you a lot of trouble.

If you're traveling for work, protecting corporate data is crucial. User Policies can help ensure that company information remains secure. Keep in mind that these policies need to be set up and dished out to the devices before you leave.

Your business may have other policies that outline what employees can do with company data. They also provide guidelines for using company devices. Make sure you're familiar with these policies before you travel.

A Little Privacy Goes a Long Way

When traveling, it's easy to let your guard down. But remember, cyberthreats don't take vacations. Here are some cybersecurity tips to keep in mind.

Be careful with what you share on social media. Posting about your travel plans can make you a target for thieves while you aren’t home. It's best to share your experiences after you've returned home.

When it comes to financial transactions, use a credit card with fraud protection. Monitor your bank statements and accounts for unusual activity. If you notice anything suspicious, report it immediately.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Use encrypted messaging apps for secure communication.
  • Be cautious with public computers. They may have keyloggers installed, and you’ll want to avoid logging into your bank account, email account, or anything else if you don’t have 2FA enabled.
  • Always make sure you log out of accounts when using a public computer.
  • Avoid downloading apps from third-party stores. They may contain malware.
  • Regularly review and update your privacy settings on social media and other online accounts.
  • In the digital age, tech travel safety is a must. It's not just about protecting your devices from physical damage. It's also about securing your personal and financial information.

Stay vigilant. Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded places. Keep an eye on your devices at all times. Don't leave them unattended in hotel rooms or rental cars.

Keep your devices updated. Regularly update your device's operating system and apps. This will help protect against the latest security threats. Also, consider attending cybersecurity awareness training, especially if you're a frequent traveler.

Remember, the best defense is a good offense. By taking proactive steps, you can enjoy your travels without worrying about your tech. If you want to reinforce your company devices before going on a trip (or before your staff travel) give Datalyst a call at (774) 213-9701.

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Thursday, June 13 2024

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