It’s easy to let your guard down when you’re on holiday. But whether you’re kicking back by the pool or hitting local sightseeing hotspots, it’s important to stay vigilant against hackers. This is especially important for business travellers, who may well have sensitive information with them when they travel.
Take a few simple precautions and your data, and personal privacy, will be safeguarded no matter where you are in the world. And tech can help. There are loads of data protection tools, apps and accessories to choose from – but you’ll also need a good helping of common sense.
Here are just a few of the key things to be thinking about before your next trip…
Get Yourself a Pocket Bug Detector
Are you really alone in your hotel or holiday accommodation? Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for an unsuspecting traveller to discover a hidden camera in the bathroom of their holiday rental.
To make sure there is no covert surveillance, pack a pocket-size bug detector in your suitcase. They don’t tend to cost much and don’t take up much space, and they can detect radio frequency signals and camera lens reflections. When you arrive at each new accommodation, simply switch on your bug detector, sweep the room and sleep easily.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks
Not all countries have the same rules on public Wi-Fi. This means your data could be exposed if you use any network that isn’t password protected. If you have no choice but to do so, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
You should apply the same vigilance when using shared devices, such as computers in hotel business centres. If you absolutely have to use a shared device, don’t access any sensitive data of your own while doing so.
Lock Your Devices
It takes only moments to set up PIN, password or better still, biometric protection on your smartphone and other devices. Do it before you leave for your trip, or you could easily forget. You can also add an extra layer of protection by setting up biometric security for specific apps on your devices.
Turn Off Bluetooth
Some devices have automatic Bluetooth connectivity. If you leave this switched on, and anyone sitting in the hotel lobby could potentially gain access to your device. Bluetooth also has the disadvantage of advertising your presence to people nearby. If you don’t want strangers around you know see your device when they access their own list of nearby devices, turn it off.
Consider a Privacy Filter For Your Tablet or Laptop
According to a study by 3M, a whopping 90% of visual hacking attempts are successful. So, if you don’t want the person sitting next to you on the plane to steal your password, consider fitting a simple privacy filter or screen to your laptop.
Get a Separate Phone or Laptop for Travelling
Do you really need a ‘burner’ phone just for travelling? Of course not, but it could help you to protect your most sensitive data. Having a device just for travel means you can leave your main phone containing all your bank details, contacts and private details at home.
Use an RFID Wallet
RFID blocking wallets are designed to protect against RFID (radio frequency identification) skimming of your credit card information. There’s some debate on whether these work, and how common RFID skimming crimes actually are, but an RFID wallet could at least help you feel more secure.
Sweep Your Phone for Malware
Before and after your trip, use a specialist anti-malware programme to do a deep-level sweep of your devices.
Keep Your Movements Off Social Media
If you’re heading abroad, it’s probably best not to broadcast the fact on social media. It could potentially alert would-be thieves that your property is sitting empty.
Don’t Forget The Basics of Information Security
The sophisticated approach to data privacy won’t mean much if you neglect the basics. And in fact, investing in high tech security tools can foster a false sense of security, leaving you vulnerable to more basic fraud techniques.
So remember, never write down your passwords or memorable information, never leave your devices unattended and If your hotel has a safe, make use of it. Lock away devices containing any and all sensitive info, just in case.