Protect Your Privacy While Traveling
By Megan Morrow
Published August 5, 2019
Turn off the thermostat…check.
Cancel the mail…check.
Protect your privacy…
While more people are aware of data breaches and cybersecurity issues, not everyone takes efforts to safeguard their privacy while traveling. Meanwhile, data fraud and cyberattacks rank in the top five global risks, according to the World Economic Forum. Whether you are heading out for a business trip or leisure, the following tips can help keep you and your data safe while you are on the road:
- Keeps your friends close and your key information closer. Make copies of your passport, driver’s license, credit cards, health insurance cards and any other important documents and store them in a safe place. There are, naturally, apps that can provide back-up. Keepsafe Photo Vault, for example, offers cloud-based storage of documents, photos and more.
- Amp up your password protection. If you can leave your mobile phone home and use a simple burner phone, that simplifies everything, however, most people do not want to go a few hours, let alone days, without their devices. After determining that you are, indeed, running the latest version of your system’s security software, tighten your settings further. Ensure that you have passwords on your mobile phones and laptops to make it difficult for anyone to use your devices if they are stolen or lost; while it can be frustrating to enter your code over and over, if you reduce the time it takes for your screen to lock when you are not using it, this provides another security check. In addition, check your settings and remove or reduce location-based tracking and log out of browsers and social media when not in use. You can also place additional passwords on any apps that access personal information (email, social media).
- Beware of unsecured Wi-Fi networks. True, they will not cost you in roaming charges, but you may pay when it comes to your privacy and security. Public networks in hotels, airports, libraries and coffee shops do not encrypt your data, allowing anyone with basic hacking skills on the same network to read it. If you must connect, do not do anything sensitive (online banking, for example). Instead, use a VPN or virtual private network (available for free/small fee; many companies have these for travelers), which will encrypt your data and scramble your location, even when you are connected to a public network.
- Use common sense. If you have a nosey neighbor on an airplane or bus, cover your devices before logging in – more than 90 percent of visual hacking attempts are successful, according to a 3M study. Do not share personal information with anyone you do not know, even the friendly check-in person at your favorite hotel. Avoid broadcasting your every move on social media. Delete navigation history in a rented GPS/rental car’s navigation system before you return it. If something makes you feel uneasy, pay attention.
Naturally, most of these measures can also be translated into enhanced safety and privacy at home. Be vigilant and smart when you are on the road and equally savvy when you return.
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The material presented here is for information purposes only and is not to be considered an offer to buy or sell any security. This report was prepared from sources believed to be reliable but it is not guaranteed as to accuracy and it is not a complete summary of statement of all available data. Information and opinions are current up to the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The purchase and sale of securities should be conducted on an individual basis considering the risk tolerance and investment objective of each investor and with the advice and counsel of a professional advisor. The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.