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Safety tips for traveling and at home – how to protect yourself

September 20, 2022

When you travel, it is essential to think about safety, partly during the trip but also in the preparations for it. A few simple safety precautions in your routines can protect you from common, predictable mistakes. Hopefully, we can help you avoid a breach of your systems, which could lead to a potential identity hijacking with dire consequences as a result.

Improve your security procedures

Through knowledge, you can actively work to improve your security routines, we help you find information about common flaws that lead to breaches. There are many aspects to consider but some of our top tips can be found at the end of this article. Both as private individuals and entrepreneurs, we usually travel with computers and phones that carry sensitive information about us. It is therefore important to be well aware of how you treat these when you travel. If you have a computer at work, you should carefully protect the company’s information. The easiest tip is to constantly update your passwords in different variations, a routine that you can schedule quarterly or more often. Your use of networks should also be checked, ideally, avoid open networks as these are considered the most vulnerable.

Invest in your safety – minimize risks

Invest in mobile broadband that you run through a VPN tunnel to be extra secure. This reduces the risk of unauthorized people taking control of your computer, also make sure that your accessories are connected to the same connection. There are many cases where the hacker uses your accessories to hack you because they are connected to your system. The fraudster tries to access your computer through the network’s connecting neighbors, which is a strong argument against using open networks. However, we are becoming increasingly mobile in our services and privacy, which makes this point more difficult. However, this suggests investing in external services that help you take control of unexpected situations, such as a VPN tunnel and monitoring services.

Vulnerable systems lead to devastating consequences

The Twitter account @TheHackerHiraffe is a perfect example of how vulnerable an accessory connected to your network actually is. In this case, the attack is surprisingly innocent even though fifty thousand printers were hacked. The goal was only to send a message about subscribing to a youtube channel and updating the printer, but it shows a vulnerability that should not be accepted. The problem with IoT gadgets is usually a lack of updates, which can lead to devastating consequences. We recommend checking your devices continuously and choosing products carefully. Review how well the product can be adapted to your or your company’s current security practices and preferences. If you are on the move, this will of course be a more difficult task, but think before you connect your sensitive data to a new network or IoT products. See also our previous post “Work proactively with crisis management – minimize security gaps” where we discuss this topic.

Do the little extra before it’s too late

When you are traveling away from your home for an extended period, it is smart to switch off your electronics at home so that they are not connected to your network. Switch off the network, the computer, and other electronics and you will also reduce the risk of fire in the event of an electrical fault or lightning. Back up your most important files from mobile devices and your computer. This helps you if you are the victim of theft on the trip or if the technology breaks down. You can enable apps that track and remotely control your devices, enabling recovery in case of theft. But usually, it’s our most obvious flaws that we don’t see – like constantly updating our surroundings about where we are through social media. Of course, it is a simplified process for the burglar to plan his activities when there is a treasure map online.

Always be one step ahead of the thief when you travel

There are many smart solutions for how you can manage your security both digitally and in real situations. When you travel to dangerous areas, you should carry a so-called wallet dummy. It is a cheaper wallet with some smaller denominations and cards that are not valid. If the thief steals this, you won’t lose any large sums of money or other valuables. Also, never withdraw too much money if there is no need, it is better to minimize the risks than to bet everything on one card. Even with digital payments via your bank card, it is important not to lose control of your card – ask to pay at the table or bar. There are cases where restaurants skim your card for money or make a copy for their own use. Of course, you should always protect your code when handling your bank card, regardless of where you are. If you have any other questions about your planned trip – read about other basic preparations through the government’s own website.

This is how you protect yourself before a trip

  • Turn off your desktop PC so it is not connected to any network.
  • Protect all your devices with different passwords that are hard to guess.
  • Back up important information if your mobile device is lost or stolen.
  • Do not connect your computer, tablet, or mobile phone to unsecured public wireless networks.
  • Make sure your computer has hard drive encryption.
  • Enable apps that allow you to track or remotely control your devices. This allows you to wipe your device if it is stolen.
  • Lock your mobile and computer when you are in the hotel room and do not leave it visible in the car.
  • Always use VPN when browsing your work devices privately to reduce the risk of intrusion.
  • Be careful about posting pictures and status updates on social media that show you are away.
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