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[liberationtech] Traveler tips: How to avoid hacking of your laptop, mobile device while overseas - The Washington Post

Yosem Companys companys at
Sun Feb 3 09:51:05 PST 2013

Traveler tips: How to avoid hacking of your laptop, mobile device while overseas

By Associated Press, Published: February 1

WASHINGTON — Some tips to help business travelers protect their
laptops and mobile devices from spying — or at least limit the damage
of hacking — while in China or other nations that may want to steal
company information:

—Don’t take your work or personal laptop. That’s the best advice and a
precaution used by major companies and agencies of the federal
government, said Anup Ghosh, chief financial officer of Invincea, a
software security company in Fairfax, Va. Instead, some employers
issue traveling laptops that are clean of proprietary corporate or
government information and are scrubbed clean after the employee
returns from the trip.

—Don’t think you can just keep your eye on your equipment. Data can be
captured while the laptop is in customs or if you step away from your
hotel room briefly. “It takes five minutes or less to capture
information from the laptop,” Ghosh said. Lock it in a hotel safe. Use
an encrypted drive.

—Get a traveling phone as well, such as a pay-per-use phone. If you
take your phone, it should be reimaged on return. Use your screen
password on your mobile device so if you lose it, no one can pick it
up and read your email or other data.

—Be aware of the risk, once in-country, of connecting to public
networks. Wireless networks in hotels and coffee shops, for instance,
are often compromised and malicious codes can be downloaded into your
machine, Ghosh said. Even if you leave home with a clean laptop and
it’s wiped clean after the trip, someone can still capture what you’re
typing in emails or your credentials when you’re entering them during
the trip. Not much can be done about that — it’s just a risk you have
to be aware of so you are careful to avoid activities such as logging
into your bank to do financial transactions, he said.

—Travel aside, your company should also routinely take steps to limit
the types of applications that can run on their systems, regularly
update computer programs, and tightly control the number of people who
have broad access privileges to the company networks, said Alan
Paller, director of research at SANS Institute, a computer-security

© The Washington Post Company

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