Wayne State University

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Security Awareness: Guard your Privacy When Offline or Traveling

May 24, 2017

Planning a vacation during the summer months? You may be more vulnerable when traveling, because a break from a regular routine or encounters with unfamiliar situations often result in less cautious behavior.

Protect yourself and guard your privacy when away from home.

Track your device. Install a device finder or manager on your phone or tablet in case it's lost or stolen. Make sure it has the capabilities to remotely wipe your device clean and protect against malware.

Avoid social media announcements about your travel plans. It's tempting to share your upcoming vacation plans with your online friends, but consider how this might make you an easy target for local or online thieves. While traveling, avoid using social media to locate yourself to airports and consider posting those beautiful photos after you return home.

Traveling soon? If you're traveling with a laptop or other mobile device, remove or encrypt confidential information. Consider using a laptop or device designated for travel that has no personal information stored on it, especially when traveling out of the country. 

Limit personal information stored on devices. Use a tool like Identity Finder to locate your personally identifiable information (e.g., SSN, credit card numbers or bank accounts) on your computer and then secure or remove that information.

Rethink your apps. Consider deleting any sensitive apps on your device — email, shopping, banking, etc. — you can re-download them when you get home. Similarly, make sure you are signed out of apps so your information isn't easily accessible if your device is lost or stolen.

Physically protect yourself and your devices. Use a laptop lock, avoid carrying identification cards, shred sensitive paperwork before you recycle it and watch out for "shoulder surfers" at the ATM.