February 20, 2018

5 Items You Must Protect When You Travel

Heading somewhere warm this month for a vacation? Make sure security is on your packing list.   

Identity theft and other crimes are growing problems for travelers who are being targeted for the information and devices that they carry.

Here are 5 items that you must protect.  

  1. Mobile Devices 

A Bitglass report showed that 1 in 4 breaches in the financial services sector were due to lost or stolen devices.

While thieves often re-sell stolen laptops, tablets or smartphones, there’s a lot of valuable information saved on these devices too.

  • Update data protection software. Password-protect devices with strong passwords. Install full disk encryption on devices with stored data.
  • Carry phones close to your body to avoid being pick-pocketed.
  • Never leave your mobile device unattended in a public place such as the hotel lobby or coffee shop (according to Kensington research, 70 million cell phones are lost every year).
  • Lock devices in the hotel safe (rather than leave them out in your room).
  1. Confidential Papers and Data

A 2017 Glassdoor report showed that 66% of vacationers take work with them.

An earlier Ponemon study showed that employees use their personally-owned mobile phones to access corporate data including customer records (68%), corporate emails, (55%), and financial data (50%). 

  • Limit or minimize the confidential data you take with you on vacation.
  • Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use.
  • Use a virtual private network (VPN) in cyber cafes, public areas, and hotels.
  • On the road, save digital documents to a cloud service and lock away confidential paper documents.
  • Securely shred confidential paper documents that are no longer needed (ask if the hotel has a document destruction service).
  1. Internet of Things Devices (IoT)

Smart devices like fitness trackers and heart pressure monitors connect to the internet to send and receive information. But if you can access your data remotely, it's possible a cyber criminal can as well.

  • Never leave gadgets with default passwords. Set new and strong passwords.
  • Keep the device's software up-to-date – regularly check for and install IoT updates.
  • Disconnect IoT devices from the internet (or turn them off completely) whenever you don’t need them.
  1. ID and Credit Cards

Credit card theft and identity theft both involve a criminal assuming a false identity.  

  • Pack only essential ID, credit, and debit cards.
  • Use safe ATMs in public areas, and shield your PIN entry.
  • Monitor credit cards regularly while abroad.  
  • Report a stolen card immediately.
  1. Travel Documents

Are you aware of all the confidential information on certain travel documents? For example, the barcode on boarding passes contains travel itinerary and frequent flyer information.   

Passports are a popular target too, and millions are reported lost or stolen around the world every year. 

  • Before your trip, scan a copy of your passport and email it to yourself.
  • Be wary of travel scams. One popular scam is to steal a passport right off the front desk in a hotel while a distracted traveler checks in.
  • Lock passport in the hotel safe, or carry it hidden and close to your body.
  • Never leave travel documents such as boarding passes, car rental documents, and airline tickets, behind.
  • Securely shred travel documents when the trip is over.


Start Protecting Your Business 

To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard drives, please contact us to get a free quote and security risk assessment.