Packing for vacation these days includes all sorts of technology gear. The cellphone, laptop, iPad, etc., are as important as sunscreen and a roadmap. Make sure you bring them all home, with your privacy intact and your data secure.
You can afford to lose your sunglasses or a pair of socks, but not your laptop or cellphone. Wherever you are traveling or vacationing:
- Back up your data before you leave. If your laptop or tablet is stolen or lost, you can minimize the damage if you have a copy of your files back at home.
- Make it difficult for a thief to walk away with your gear. Keep your devices in your possession as much as you can.
- Install software that can help you get your computer back if it is stolen or at least prevent the thief from stealing your data.
- Lock your devices or store them in a safe place. Put your gear in the trunk of your car before you get to your destination, so a thief won’t know it’s there.
- Adorn your laptop with stickers or decals to make it look different from everyone else’s and so someone won’t walk away with it “by mistake.”
- Secure your mobile device. Watch the video and read the tips.
Learn more about preventing theft.
Be careful of WiFi
Using a wireless Internet connection in a hotel, coffee shop or airport can be convenient . . . and risky. Hackers can use widely available sniffing software such as Firesheep to eavesdrop on your online activities, including emails, web surfing, and online purchases. Someone could spoof the name and appearance of a hotel’s network, hoping that unsuspecting users will divulge personal data.
Public WiFi hotspots are not safe connections, but you can use UW-Madison’s WiscVPN with your computer to ensure that your Internet traffic is encrypted and secure. It’s free. Get details on using WiscVPN.
At public computers, don’t leave anything behind
An Internet kiosk in a public place is great for checking email and web surfing. But if you just walk away after you’re done, the next person to use the kiosk might find him/herself in your account.
To be safe, make sure you logout and Quit or Exit after using a shared computer.
In many foreign countries, the rules are different. If you are traveling abroad, you should consider added measures to ensure your own safety and security and the security of your technology devices and data. See the Academic Professional’s Guide to Safe Computing When Traveling Abroad, published by UW-Madison’s Office of Campus Information Security (OCIS).