Staying Safe when Traveling

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Today we have a guest editorial from Grant Fritchey as Steve is away on his sabbatical.

If you travel for business like I do, a big part of your travel involves dealing with the fact that the world is a hostile place. No, I don’t mean the airlines. I mean all the possible security risks that you must deal with. Here’s just my latest example of protection.

That is what is commonly referred to as a USB prophylactic. Basically, it allows you to connect your phone, or whatever, to a public USB port without having to worry about getting hacked. Yes, that’s right, you should be worried about getting hacked when you’re charging your phone.

Speaking of phones, you’re using a VPN on your phone, right? No? Are you connecting to public WIFI? I know a few people who say they never connect to public WIFI, hotel WIFI, airport WIFI, or any other kind of WIFI that is not under their direct control (most of them don’t travel much). The rest of us are going to take advantage of that free WIFI so we can get work done, check our email, or just watch the darned football game for a few minutes. However, unless you’re encrypting your signal, you’re exposed on that public WIFI.

You’ve got a password on laptop, right? You also have encrypted the storage haven’t you. Wait? You haven’t? Yeah, you need to sweat that your laptop may end up in the hands of someone who does not have your best interests at heart. So, encrypt that puppy in addition to securing it through traditional means.

Security is a never-ending battle, and even more so when you become a road warrior. A few more tips. Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you’re not using them. Make darned sure you’ve got the latest updates on your mobile devices. Put your credit cards in a security sleeve or wallet. Don’t use those shared computers to log in to anything, ever (dire emergencies excepted, but plan to be hacked). Have a firewall on your laptop. Disable file and printer sharing. All this will help.

Hitting the road may sometimes feel like hitting the Oregon Trail. Just remember, getting hacked is not quite as bad as dying of dysentery. However, unlike death on the Oregon Trail, there’s a lot you can do to mitigate problems on the road.

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