It probably comes as no surprise that the holidays are the busiest time of year for travel. Individuals and families travel many miles to visit their loved ones, and that travel can be stressful. It is also no surprise that criminals will try to take advantage of those stressed-out travelers. Keep the following advice in mind as you travel this holiday season.
Prepare: Today many of us travel with multiple devices—a work laptop, a personal laptop, a tablet, a mobile phone—and it is hard to imagine leaving anything behind. A little preparation can go a long way. First, make sure all your devices are up-to-date and have antivirus software, a VPN (virtual private network) and, if possible, location and remote control services installed. If you are traveling with a work device, check your organization’s policies on traveling and updating software. When traveling by air there is the added security checkpoint, which requires you to remove all devices from your luggage to be scanned. Keep your devices within your sight as much as possible. To make sure your items aren’t confused with other devices that might look identical, give your device an identifying mark such as a sticker.
Pack: When traveling by car, you should strive to keep your electronics out of sight such as packing them in the trunk of the vehicle. When you exit the vehicle, be sure it is locked securely. When traveling by air, follow all airport guidelines—such as never packing laptops or batteries in checked luggage. Pack items that need to be scanned at security checkpoints in such a way that you can quickly and easily remove and replace them within your luggage. Create a mnemonic device to remember the important items you are carrying. (Example: phone, wallet, keys, phone, laptop, luggage becomes Phineas Was Keeping Paul’s Lost Letters) Recite that mnemonic device every time you change locations with your items. If something isn’t there, backtrack immediately.
Practice: Practice good security awareness. Whether you are at a rest stop or an airport, make sure you are aware of your surroundings and your belongings. Never let a stranger watch your items; take them with you everywhere. Always be on the lookout for shoulder surfers, card skimmers, and petty thieves. If you do find yourself in a situation where you have lost a work item, report it immediately. If you lose a personal item, activate the location services from another device to hopefully find your item, or remote access into the lost item to lock it down and secure your data.