Stay safe online when you’re on the road
Follow these precautions for your computer and other devices when you’re traveling.
Before you go
- Identify what data you don’t need on the devices you’re bringing along and remove it after you’ve backed it up. This can protect that data if your device is lost, stolen or confiscated.
- Install software on your device so you can remotely track where it is. There’s Find My iPhone for Apple products and Device Manager for Androids. You can also configure these to remotely wipe your device if it’s lost or stolen.
- Back up all your devices to a secure location.
- Consider setting up two-factor authentication on the accounts that support your device, including Facebook and Gmail, so it’s harder for someone else to get into your accounts.
- Never leave your phone, laptop or camera visible in your car; it only takes a second to smash a window and grab it.
- If you have a City device that’s lost or stolen, contact the IT Service Desk immediately.
- Approximately 100 smartphones are lost in the United States every minute. Stay mindful, and double-check that you have your devices whenever you leave a café, restaurant or taxi.
- Be wary of public Wi-Fi, especially at airports and hotels. You don’t know how they’ve been set up or maintained, and it’s impossible to tell if anyone nearby is monitoring what you do online. So unless you’re using a VPN, don’t log in to a secure account such as your bank account or email while on an open Wi-Fi connection.
- Be wary of public computers, including those available for travelers in hotels. Don’t log into any secure accounts because you don’t know who set up the computer systems or what software is installed. You might be sharing your account information with cybercriminals.
At all times
- Make sure that all your devices are password protected with good, long, strong passwords. On your phone, don't settle for a four-digit PIN just because that's what everyone else is doing. Going from four to eight digits means typing your PIN takes twice as long, but it also makes it 10,000 times longer for a crook to crack it.
- Set your devices to auto-lock after the shortest delay you can live with: Start with two minutes, for example.
- On your phone, also consider enabling "wipe device after 10 wrong guesses."
- Check that your devices’ software or apps and anti-virus protections are up to date. If you have software or apps that you’re no longer using, uninstall them.
- If at all possible, encrypt your devices; iPhones do this automatically if you set a passcode, but other devices might not have encryption turned on. Full-device encryption means that everything gets encrypted automatically.
Do you have a security-related question or suggestion or want to comment on this article? Contact the IT security officer.
Visit the iRiskAware page on CityTalk for more security-related tips and information.
Published Jul 14, 2015