Apartment Therapy and Unplggd are ripe with advice on how to keep your pets, clothes and tech safe when you travel away from home. But what about data? If you're going to be using shared public computers or wi-fi, you might want to pay attention...
If you're traveling for business—or you just can't keep away from the screen (guilty!)—you're probably going to be accessing your info away from home.
Luckily, the New York Times put together a story, "Safe Travels for Your and Your Data," that's ripe with great advice:
- Public shared computers frequently have malware on them, including programs that track keystrokes and save screenshots. If you're unsure if the cafe or hotel machine is fitted with tracking programs, be sure not to access bank sites or enter your credit card info.
- For the same reason, you might want to change your email passwords when you get home. Or if you don't want a new password, change it to a temporary travel password before you leave.
- To avoid malware, you can use your own laptop or netbook on public wi-fi. But the NY Times says to beware of people "'sniffing' the airwaves" or a hacker that's trying to "infiltrate your PC by making his computer appear to be a legitimate Wi-Fi hot spot." To protect your info, use a firewall (they are included free in recent versions of the Windows and Mac operating systems).
- When traveling with your machine, protect data in a low-tech way by making sure your laptop doesn't get lifted (don't trust a stranger to watch it while you hit the stalls). But still plan for the worst and backup your files on an external drive at home. If you travel frequently, it might not be wise to let your Web browser store your passwords in the event of a stolen machine.