Avoiding Common Tech Threats

Avoiding Common Tech Threats

Losing your company devices—or worse, your data—can be a major inconvenience, not to mention a major source of stress. When you travel, take special care to avoid the following common mistakes.

Hotspot Sniffers When you use free wifi in hotels, airports, and conference centers, you’re essentially broadcasting your data over a totally exposed connection. Hackers can intercept usernames, passwords, emails, and files using easily available sniffing software. Before you travel, check with your IT department to determine company protocol. Or call your mobile provider and ask about tethering, which is a way to connect to the web using your smartphone with your laptop/tablet. It’s inexpensive and encrypted, making your data much safer.

Mobile Data Thieves In addition to enabling a passcode on your smartphone, turn on remote tracking and wiping services so if your mobile goes missing you can immediately delete all data from it. These tools work for laptops and tablets as well.

Laptop Hijackers If you’re forced to leave your laptop alone, turn on encryption (FileVault for Apple; BitLocker for Windows) and enable your password-protected screensaver.

Housekeeping In addition to using the in-room safe, hang the privacy sign on the door and alert housekeeping that you’ll be in all day and don’t want to be disturbed. It’s not perfect—and your bed won’t get made—but it’s safer than leaving your information exposed. This tip, along with the previous one, will keep your data 99% secure.

Stage Swipes It’s surprising how many laptops are stolen from the lectern between the A/V check and the speech. Keep everything with you. If you’re going to another event immediately after your speech and won’t have time to disassemble your laptop, ask the A/V team or hotel staff to do so and bring it (along with any other accessories—dongle, pointers, etc.) to you. Tip them beforehand ($10 each is a reasonable starting place—think of the hassle you’ll be dealing with if it disappears) to encourage their help.