Are you going on a vacation or on a business trip? Have you backed up the information stored on the devices that you are carrying? Have you encrypted the gadgets? If you have not done it already, you’d better do it now. You’d better have a cybersecurity policy of your own to minimise the losses in case your devices are stolen are lost.

B Surender (name changed), an NRI scientist who came to India recently for a conference, lost his laptop at an airport. Though he was visibly upset about losing the laptop, he was not quite worried about the prospective loss of data. “I’ve stored all the data to the last byte. Since the device is encrypted, it’s not easy for someone to crack it. I can erase all the data if I can’t trace it back,” he says.

Cybersecurity experts have asked people to be diligent when it comes to safeguarding their data, particularly when they are travelling. Cybersecurity solutions company Sophos has come out with a set of suggestions for people to protect their devices when traveling.

No vacation for threats

“While there is a lot to look forward to, travellers also need to be mindful of about the fact that cybersecurity risks do not take a vacation. A growing number of travellers have reported falling victim to cyber fraud while on a holiday,” it points out.

“The only backup you will ever regret is the one you didn’t make. Remember to make a reliable backup of all data. What this also ensures is that the devices you are travelling with hold minimal sensitive data,” Sophos advises.

Lock the devices

“Before travelling, it is a good practice to reset lock codes. When doing so, avoid using simple codes, or numbers that follow a sequence and can be easy to guess,” it observes.

One must also be prepared for random screening of devices as one crosses international borders. The foreign authorities could even copy the data, including the data that one has deleted. “Your travel plan must factor in the kind of data that you are carrying. You need to check the entry rules before planning to visit, and take stock of what devices and data you carry along,” Sophos says.

It is quite common for travellers to access public Wi-Fi access points and PCs available at the airports or at hotels and conference venues to check their emails or send documents. “When using public Wi-Fi, always remember to access websites and apps that follow proper encryption systems. While browsing, make sure that the sites that you visit start with https://,” it says.

It also wants people to take a prior permission from their offices if they want to carry their official devices. It is not just enough to carry less luggage while on travel for a comfortable trip but it is also important to have less (important) data on you to ensure an incident-free trip.