Being a database geek for a long time now and mostly working with administration and securing business data in my line of work, it comes as a second nature to me to secure my own personal data across all my devices. Especially when I’m on the go and travelling.
With a hundreds of mobile apps and browser plugins, securing your personal data should be easier nowadays. Most apps that I come across now are even in the mode of download, install, set and forget. The app or the program running in the background securing your every data while in transit.
I know you’re too excited about your trip that personal data security is the last thing on your mind. Seriously, who’s got time for security and backups? If you are really decided on bringing your gadgets along with you, protecting your personal data must be taken seriously. Else you risk being a victim of identity thief, losing all those precious travel photos, accounts hacked which will give you a headache worse than a hangover after night of drinking.
In the long time that I have been travelling, below are things that I do to secure my personal data before I travel and during my travel. Do these tips and have a piece of mind walking thru cobbled stones of Helsinki.
It is best to be proactive or preventing something before it even happens. So before your even you lose your personal data you have a backup of it stored safely somewhere.
Backup your personal data even before something bad happens. You can save your backup data on memory cards, portable hardisks and cloud services like DropBox, iCloud and GoogleDrive to name a few. You can also backup your phone to your laptop and backup your laptop to another storage device.
Secure your gadgets. Install software or programs on your computer that will protect it against malware and viruses. For Mac users setup and configure your File Vault. To protect your browsing activity, install the free plugin HTTPS Everywhere for your Chrome or Mozilla browser. Check that each site you are connecting to, the padlock icon is locked and pay attention to malware messages and popups.
Use the passcode and fingerprint security on your mobile devices. And for your laptops, use a strong password, something that can never be tied to you or your personal information. A random string of characters with combination of alphabet, numbers and special characters should be strong enough. And please, pretty please never use your birthday as a password!
Softwares like Prey, Find My iPhone, and Android Device Manager all offer various features for tracking down your stolen devices and locating them. These awesome softwares have helped reunite many people with their beloved gadgets. So make sure you have these setup on your phone and your gadgets even before you leave the house.
Believe me, peace of mind is priceless.
While On The Go.
You might think, “Those public computers at the internet kiosk look inviting. I have nothing to do anyway, might as well check who’s ranting and who’s posting latest vacation photos on Facebook.”
No! Never ever do this. Ever.
You can always use the public computer but only for sites that do not ask for your personal information. You can browse for websites to search for more information on your travel destination but if any website asks for your personal information, skip it.
Public WiFi is even worse. Those free wifi in public places are where most data stealers are having a field day. While you might be enjoying the free internet connection on your personal computer or gadgets, you have no idea who else is sniffing on that free wifi. While you are happily posting your airport drink on instagram, in the background someone is already inside your device and getting vital information that can be used for hacking or identity thief. These hackers don’t need your permission to even go inside your device. You allowed it to happen by connecting to the free wifi. You invited them in. With free coffee. Remember this public internet is a free for all. For all, even those with malicious intent to steal identity and hack accounts and credit card information.
When using a credit card to pay for that airport drink or shopping at the duty free, keep your receipts. Do not leave it at the counter top. Usually credit card information and short name are printed on the receipts. Be cautious of what you leave behind for the thief to feast on.
Same thing with your used boarding passes. Keep your used boarding pass and take it home with you. You might think that it’s useless and you arrived safely anyway so might as well throw it. Nope. Not yet. See the bar code printed on your boarding pass? That contains information about you. Your full name, passport number and flight details are all stored in that barcode. You do not want the hackers to get hold of this, do you?
If Worse Comes to Worst…
Even if you have been very careful in protecting your gadgets and your personal data while travelling, sometimes bad things happen to good people. If your gadget get stolen or lost, wouldn’t you be glad that you had previously set up Find My iPhone, and Android Device Manager on your phone before you left the house?
If all hopes of finding your gadgets or devices are gone, you may contact the above software companies to swipe clean your device and delete all your information once it reconnects to the internet. Better if you can ask the software companies to do a reset factory setting remotely. Then you can breathe a sigh of relief and be more careful of your surroundings and your gadgets.
My last parting tip
Keeping your data safe requires more preventive actions and investing in some apps to install on your devices. It’s better to have done preventive measures to protect your personal data.
Backup your data and install the softwares I mentioned above and you will have a peace of mind when travelling with your precious devices and of course those awesome travel photos you haven’t shared yet!
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