February Security Post: concerns when traveling

People are frequently more vulnerable when traveling because a break from their regular routine or encounters with unfamiliar situations often result in less cautious behavior. And of course the locations you travel to may have higher rates of theft than Williamstown Ma.

These five tips can help you protect yourself and guard your privacy.

  1. Track that device! Set up a device finder on your smartphone or tablet in case it’s lost or stolen. Apple offers “find my phone” with your Apple iCloud account (which is what you use to download apps). Android phones offer Android Device Manager. They both have remote wipe capabilities in case you’re confident the device is not just misplaced.
  2. Avoid Facebook announcements about your travel plans. It’s tempting to share your upcoming vacation plans with family and friends, but consider how this might make you an easy target for local or online thieves. While traveling, avoid using social media to “check in” to airports and consider posting those beautiful photos after you return home. Find out how burglars are using your vacation posts to target you in this infographic from International Business Times.
  3. Data protection.  If you’re traveling with a laptop you can have the drive encrypted. This along with a login password prevents the theft of any data in case the laptop is stolen (OIT can assist with this, and in fact most Administrative laptops at Williams are already encrypted). Consider taking a loaner laptop with no personal information on it especially when traveling out of the country. The Library has both mac and pc laptops available for short term loans.
  4. Limit personal information stored on devices. Use Identity Finder to locate your personally identifiable information (e.g., SSN, credit card numbers, or bank accounts) on your computer, then secure or remove that information. OIT has Identity Finder available – if you’d like to set up a scan on your computer please contact us.
  5. Physically protect yourself and your devices. DON’T check your laptop when flying, carry it on the plane/train/boat/bus. Don’t leave it in the back seat of your car, lock it in the trunk. Make sure a password is required when a laptop boots or resumes from sleep. Always set up a passcode on your smartphone or tablet.

Please contact the faculty/staff support desk for any questions on these or other security concerns.  x4090 or [email protected]