1. Charge with caution
USB Charging stations in airports and coffee shops usually allow more people or devices to charge up in a smaller space. Unfortunately though, they can easily be tampered with to transfer data while or instead of charging. Opt for an electrical outlet instead or invest in a USB cable that only charges. Most cords are multi-functional. They can both charge and transfer data at the same time. Keeping your own portable charging device ready for the occasional boost is another way to ensure you won’t become victim to the data grab while powering up.
2. Uninstall password managers
Border patrol and law enforcement can more easily compel you to turn over data or unlock your phone if password managers already unlock multiple websites, accounts, and data. If your device falls into the wrong hands, a password manager could also amplify the potential damage done. Err on the side of caution. Make a (mental) note of the few websites’ passwords you’ll need while traveling and uninstall your password manager until you return. Usernames and passwords for these programs are stored in the cloud so when you reinstall, you’ll get back the feel of open access on your device.
3. Install a VPN
Using public Wi-Fi is almost unavoidable while traveling. You can’t tell who else is using these networks and your data could be at risk. Before your travels, install a VPN with a reputation for security and ease of use. The VPN will create a barrier between your data and potential hackers while also allowing you to enjoy the benefits of free Wi-Fi.
4. Use a USB Drive OS
USB Drives aren’t only useful to save documents and files. You can run your Operating System from a USB Drive. Ditch your everyday device that is likely packed with your personal data. Upload what you need to the cloud and you can travel with the peace of mind that your data is safe-even if your device is compromised.
5. Encrypt your communications
There are several browser extensions that make it easy to encrypt your website communications. HTTPS Everywhere is a popular option. You’ll also need to encrypt your phone. It’s a three-step process for the Android. As long as you’ve enabled your password on an iPhone, Apple takes care of the rest.
It’s not overly complicated to implement some basic protections for your data and device while traveling. Most people overlook these steps because we take the security of our typical routines for granted. Allocate a few extra moments as you prepare for your next trip to secure what could be your most valuable item to pack, your data.