More Best Practices
Lessen the number of third-party apps and services you grant access to your social media accounts.
• Regularly clean up the list of contacts you add to your networks.
• Review photos you're tagged in before they appear on your profile.
• Turn off geolocation settings to avoid being spotted in places where you shouldn't be.
The following checklist was complied by Christopher Budd, threat communications manager at Irving, Texas-based Trend Micro, a global developer of security solutions.
Precautions Before the Trip
• Back up and take inventory of all critical data on devices.
• Patch all software, run a full malware scan and install a firewall before departure.
• Disable Bluetooth, any automatic file or printer sharing and any automatic Wi-Fi connection settings, as well as GPS if not needed. They can be used to introduce malware.
• Install virtual private network (VPN) software that encrypts network communications.
• Lock laptops and smartphones with secure, alphanumeric passwords.
• Install security software that blocks hazardous threats online and helps find and recover lost or stolen devices and data.
• Do not announce on social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, specific travel plans, dates or destinations.
• Enter yourself as "Me" and a method of contact in your stored contacts, so that if lost the device can be returned to you.
• Have a family member keep your personal documents in a safe but accessible place in the event your digital information is stolen.
On the Road
• Never assume that public Wi-Fi networks are secure.
• Do not access any sensitive data such as bank accounts or make online purchases over public Wi-Fi networks.
• If there is no choice but to use public utilities, leave no trace by logging out of all accounts, clearing browser histories and cookies, and avoiding entering private bank or credit card information.
• Keep all electronic devices in a personal carry-on. Do not place them in checked baggage. Your checked bags may be searched multiple times, by multiple parties.
• Disable the autofill options in your browser. A thief could use these to get to personal information on your device.
• When browsing, try to use HTTPS when possible instead of HTTP, so your information is encrypted.
• Do not post photos online of your whereabouts to avoid giving away too much information to cybercriminals.
• Beware of your surroundings.
• Use a hotel safe for any devices you don't need to have on you while out.
• After a trip, change passwords and scan for malware.
• Make an effort to keep an eye on your devices.
• Leave unneeded devices at home.
• Purchase and use protective device cases that have anti-theft features.
• Avoid sharing financial information over the phone.
• Scuff cases and bags, or cover devices with stickers to make them look less desirable.
• Avoid keeping devices in back pockets, as they could be easily grabbed by thieves.
• Use locks for bags, because even ones that are easily broken offer a deterrent to thieves.
• If you carry a personal bag or purse, place your device in a hard-to-reach place. Many bags have phone pockets, making the device easily swiped.
• Be sure to verify before you click links in messages or wall posts, even those sent to you by friends.
• Use unique, strong passwords for each site.