Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Beach to Breach - It's not just for work data!

   I heard a great term recently... Beach to Breach.  SC Magazine did an article about a Sourcfire study on employees bringing their portable devices on vacation.  They found that 77% of employees bring their devices with them on vacation to keep in touch with work and that 97% of the use is email.

   Hopefully you can see some of the security problems right away... the devices have a good chance of getting lost or stolen when one is out of their "element"; plenty of opportunities to connect to unknown networks; potential to use hotel printers; possible "incentive" to bypass controls to see that one "important" message, and of course; sand in our devices!

   Organizations certainly should be concerned about the potential for breach of data or loss of equipment.  But what about the rest of us?  Should we take extra precautions with our personal devices and information when out of town?... Definitely!

   Your personal devices and gadgets can certainly enhance your vacation and relaxation.  We hear plenty of people talking about "unplugging", but I just can't relate!  If I'm not jacked in to music and audiobooks, then that's no vacation!  And how about: reviews, advice, maps, price comparisons, etc.  Those all help our vacation.

   Here are a few things to consider:
  1. Take what you need and leave the rest
  2. You don't need to take every single gadget you own with you on vacation.  Figure out what you'll actually use and just take that.  More gadgets just mean more things to misplace/loss or have stolen.  But, don't forget all the charging devices and cables!  Portable chargers are great also!

  3. Prep your devices.
  4. Make sure you've got a password protected lock on all your devices.  Have anti-malware and enable phone-finding.  And... back up your data before your leave!
  5. How social?
  6. Think about how much info about your trip you want to post before you go.  Remember, when you tell the world where you are going to be, you're also telling them where you are not! (Home)
  7. How social?
  8. And similarly, while it can be fun to share those great vaca pics and messages, we don't want to tell the world we're not home.  So consider limiting where, and to whom, you post.  These tips articles say don't post at all, but they are mostly from insurance companies.
  9. Just say no to airport wifi
  10. Use known network connections when you can.  If you have to use a public wifi, use one that requires a password/passphrase, even if it's known by others, because that ensure encryption.  Airport public wifi is a known danger.
  11. Passwords
  12. I've written about passwords plenty of times.  You need to be particularly careful with your passwords on vacations.  One big danger is "shoulder surfing", basically someone watching you and gleaning your password when you're typing it in.  This is particularly an issue if you're in unfamiliar surroundings and perhaps using a smaller device you don't use as often.
  13. Do you really need that transaction?
  14. You might need to do banking, pay bills and check your investments while on vacation.  Then again... maybe that can wait... until you're back home on a known network.  Your online financial transactions should always be done on known networks.
  15. Keep it close
  16. Just like the unfamiliar surrounds of a vacation location can make it easier to lose track of your passwords, the same is true for your devices.  Think about how you will carry, store and protect your devices while away.
  17. Housecleaning
  18. When you get back home, download all your pictures and videos.  Consider uninstalling travel apps or other things you may have loaded specifically for your vacation.  Your phone or tablet will run faster after the clean-up.
   Here are a few tips from LastPass.

   What other tips or tricks do you use to protect your personal data and devices when you're out of town?

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