Mobile Security is a Travel Concern

Minneapolis-based band, Semisonic, achieved 1‑Hit Wonder status in 1998 with the successful release of their song, “Closing Time.”  The song appears to have a literal meaning about being asked to leave a bar at night’s end.  It is also seen as depicting being thrust into the world at birth—like a bouncer kicking you out of a bar.  You may not recall “Closing Time,” but many of you will know it when you hear the infectious melody and memorable hook “I know who I want to take me home.“

You should always know who you want to take you home…as well as whom you do not want to take you home.  When it comes to personal security of your laptop that applies as well.  You must always be sure that nothing is ever stolen—hardware or data—as well as make sure nothing ever infects your machine, especially when traveling.

How to Keep Your Personal Devices Secure When Traveling 

Here are suggestions for personal device security as we enter the summer travel season.

  • Close it up! We strongly recommend anytime you step away from your laptop to close the lid.  This is the most basic yet vital step to ensuring no one has easy access to your key business and personal information.  Sleep mode is recommended for stepping away when you will quickly return as it facilitates quick resumption of work.  Hibernation mode is another option, but it takes longer to engage as well as resume.
  • Keep your eye on the prize! Never venture out of sight of the machine.  If you must do this at times, consider using a lockable cable to attach it to a permanent fixture.  Another thing to consider if you must be away from the machine for extended periods is adding location tracking software to it.  Never leave your laptop in your unattended vehicle.  That is the most common way laptops are lost.  If you must leave it, put it in the trunk but do it before and away from wherever you plan to park.  If you must leave it while in a hotel, lock it in the hotel safe.
  • Secure it all!  Let’s list it out for you:  1) Up-to-date anti-virus endpoint detection and response software in place on your machine; 2) Complex passwords in place and managed by a password management software application; 3) All security patches and updates in place for all key software; 4) Employ multi-factor authentication for access to your laptop as well as to all key applications; 5) Encrypted hard drive to make it harder for attackers to steal your information if perchance they gain access to it; 6) Backup all data on the machine and store it in the cloud and while you are at it, consider backing up the cloud backup; 7) Use a privacy screen to restrict viewing angles for when you are working in public; 8) If your laptop has a webcam get a physical cover on it so it not weaponized by the bad guys remotely; 9) Avoid public and free Wi‑Fi. Use company provide VPN whenever possible.

“Closing Time” was written quickly since the band was tired of closing their sets with the same song for so long.  They challenged each other to produce a better closing song and certainly succeeded.

Use the above security tips and all your laptop travels will end successfully as well.  Contact us for more travel security tips when you’re on the road this summer!

First published in our June 2024 IT Radix Resource newsletter