Eight security tips for travelers with laptop

These days, who doesn’t travel with their laptop? But commonality doesn’t make it inherently safe for your sensitive information that’s stored in the device. In fact, traveling with your laptop is inherently unsecure.

1DWhether you’re traveling for business or to visit family this holiday season, here are some ways to protect your laptop and your personal data:

  • Get a cable lock for your laptop. It’s a great way to deter a potential thief, especially if there are lots of people around.
  • Register with an anti-theft service to track your laptop should it get stolen or “lost.”
  • Carry your laptop in a bag that’s made specifically for these devices. If it’s awkward for you to carry a suitcase in one hand while the laptop bag is slung over the opposite shoulder, consider packing the laptop with lots of tight padding in your suitcase. (But only if the suitcase will be a carry-on that you’ll be gently handling.) This way it’ll be invisible to thieves.
  • If you go with the special laptop bag, don’t leave it unattended while you make a trip to the bathroom or food court. The same goes for a carry-on suitcase. Either belonging should be with you at all times.
  • Whenever you leave your hotel room, hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign. You never know what hotel employee would be tempted to get into your laptop should they enter your room upon thinking nobody’s in it.
  • Never let a stranger use your laptop, even if that stranger looks innocent. The need to protect your sensitive data is more important than the feelings of a stranger.
  • And back up your data—before the trip. Cloud backup such as Carbonite will update your data based on custom settings as frequently as you require.
  • If you absolutely must conduct personal or sensitive online transactions on a public Wi-Fi, use a virtual private network (VPN), as this will scramble your transaction and make it worthless to hackers snooping data streams. One of these snoopers could be sitting in the same coffee house or hotel lobby as you are. Or, they can be a thousand miles away.

Robert Siciliano is a personal privacy, security and identity theft expert to Carbonite discussing identity theft prevention. Disclosures.