Laptop Travel Safety

With COVID-19 restrictions lifting, travel has already ramped up more than an average 300% from 2020 according to the TSA.

Whether it’s visiting family or finally taking that vacation that was indefinitely delayed, you’ll want to make sure all of your smart devices are secure while traveling to keep your information safe.

After all, getting some work or shopping done on the go shouldn’t have to be a security risk. Here are some useful tips to keep your devices safe during your travels.

Make sure your device is locked when not in use

The easiest way to secure your information is to keep your laptop and other smart devices locked via a password or PIN. Most anyone is going to have a hard time accessing your information if they can’t unlock your device, so be sure to create a strong password that utilizes a variety of letters, numbers and symbols.

Keep your device near you

When traveling, keep your devices near you at all times. Even a quick trip to fill your water bottle is enough time for your device to “disappear.” Take the extra minute to throw your laptop in your backpack or bag and keep it next to you, even if moving a short distance away.

Use a VPN while on public WiFi

Public WiFi can be dangerous to use, as your connection can never be 100% secure. But sometimes, it’s necessary. If you have to use public WiFi during your trip, consider installing a virtual private network (VPN) on your devices. A VPN will encrypt your connection to hide your activity from others on the network, and keep the location of your IP address hidden. Be sure to turn off WiFi functionality when your devices aren’t in use to avoid auto-connecting to potentially unsafe networks.

Encrypt your hard drive

With 1.4 reported cases of identity theft in 2020 alone, you can never be too careful when preparing for the worst. Both Windows and MacOS will allow you to encrypt the hard drives on your laptop, meaning if your laptop were to be stolen, nothing on the hard drive could be accessed. It’s worth encrypting any external hard drives as well, given how easy to lose they can be.

Perform any updates or backups before you leave

While you’re still at home on a secure internet connection, make sure your operating system as well as any frequently used software is updated and that any important documents or work are backed up via another hard drive or the cloud. Keeping your software up to date means fewer security vulnerabilities on your device. It’s important to complete these updates on a solid, secure connection, as these files can be quite large and could take a while to download on a public network.

Use a privacy screen filter on your laptop

A privacy screen filter is an overlay for your laptop that narrows the viewing angle of your laptop’s screen, keeping wandering eyes from seeing any sensitive information or confidential documents. This inexpensive solution is a great way to stay safe when getting work done while traveling.

Turn off location sharing

You never know who could get a hold of your whereabouts. Your location data could also show that your house is currently left unattended for an extended period of time. When possible, turn off your GPS location on your devices while traveling. Avoid posting about your trip on social media and disable access to your location until you return. Traveling to see family and friends shouldn’t be a security risk. Learn more about keeping your devices secure in the Total Defense security blog