Whether you are traveling for business, or jetting around the world on a much-needed vacation, you need to be cautious: dependent on passports, money, and technology to navigate foreign places, travelers are extremely vulnerable to identity theft.
Before you check your email in some faraway cafe, consider these steps to secure your communications.
Create a new email account strictly for traveling.
Consider creating and using an email account strictly for traveling. Create an account containing no sensitive information and communicate using only this account while traveling. Never check email over unsecured networks.
Update your antivirus software.
Update your computer and electronic devices and perform any necessary scans using the software. Never install patches or updates while away from a secure, familiar source.
Back up your data.
Perform a backup to a secure location such as hard drive you keep in a secure location at home. Delete any unnecessary or sensitive files from your devices.
Pack your electronics in your carry on luggage.
Never place electronics in a checked bag. Consider leaving portable equipment like flash drives and external hard drives at home. Take only what is necessary.
Be mindful of your Internet connections.
Although it may be tempting to connect to free Wi-Fi from a hotel, cafe, or conference center, never use an unsecure Internet connection. Each time you enter your username, password, or other sensitive information over an unsecured connection, you risk having this information exposed. Avoid accessing your bank accounts, work email, and other secure accounts.
Please note that for and web addresses you visit to be secure, it should begin with "https." For example a URL should read: "https://identity.utexas.edu."
Encrypt your data.
You should strongly consider purchasing or downloading reputable software that encrypts your data while you are traveling.
Log out after each use.
If you log in to a sensitive account on your phone, personal computer or a public computer, always be sure to log out when you are done. This will help keep unauthorized users from accessing your sensitive information if your technology is stolen or open to the public. You should always delete your cookies and browsing history from a public computer.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Be vigilant about your belongings and technology while traveling. Tourists are often easy targets for criminals. Keep a close eye on your suitcases, purses, and other luggage. When using a mobile phone or computer in public, watch for individuals trying to catch a glimpse of your sensitive information.
Check your accounts for any strange or suspicious activity. Change your PIN and passwords. Read through all of your mail and make note if any expected mail is missing. Report any errors immediately.
Adopting these habits can help keep your identity safe during your adventures. Safe travels!