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These days, information is money, and it’s often worth more than the devices used to access it. A thief who pickpockets your phone can turn a few hundred bucks selling it, but the true cost is the loss of your data — photos, work — and the headache of dealing with identity fraud if your passwords and personal details are uncovered and sold online. The value of data means that cybercriminals are constantly developing malware to scrape and copy information from the gadgets that hold our most personal details. Travelers who rely on public Wi-Fi networks or charging points are especially at risk.
“When you’re traveling, you want to be more aware than normal about the usual cybersecurity advice,” says Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist at Sophos. Good cybersecurity hygiene includes using unique passwords for every account, ensuring device software and programs are updated (especially browsers and Flash player, Wisniewski says), and installing an antivirus program. Once you’ve taken care of those basics, it’s time to deal with these seven tech dangers facing travelers.
1. Stolen devices that aren’t password-protected
Losing a smartphone or laptop is never great, but it can be even more problematic when your phone is your only means of navigating the back streets of New Orleans or your laptop contains tomorrow’s conference presentations. Multiply the hassle if your device wasn’t PIN-protected, which makes it all too easy for gadget-swipers to swipe your sensitive data and use it for identity fraud, accessing your email and social network accounts with nary a password to crack.
And if you’re traveling with your work laptop, the consequences of having someone steal a non-password-protected device can put your company’s network at risk for a data breach.
Use a strong password to withhold entry from would-be thieves. Enable device tracking on your Android, iOS or Mac, which allows you to see the location of your lost devices — maybe you just left it in that charming piazza café — and lets you…