As an investigator, you aren’t always in your office, but you usually need access to workplace documents like case files and policies while you’re out in the field. This means that you probably travel with a laptop, smart phone and other devices to make your job easier. Mobile devices are convenient, but they also pose serious risks for today’s business traveler. Follow these corporate security travel tips to keep your data safe.
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Taking Your Investigation To Go
During an investigation, you deal with sensitive information that cannot end up in the hands of others. So how do you make sure information stays secure while on the road?
Here’s a Lab Matters webcast featuring Kaspersky Lab malware researcher Stefan Tanase. In the video, Tanase provides some corporate security travel tips and advice to assist in protecting you, your laptop, and your corporate data while you’re on the road.
Corporate Security Travel Tips
Here are some of the security musts for those of you on the road:
- Physically secure your devices – don’t lose them and don’t leave them behind, even if you know you’ll be back to get them. If you don’t need your devices with you, turn them off, keep them locked and leave them in your room.
- Encryption – make sure all data is fully encrypted. This will prevent anyone else from accessing it.
- Backup – make sure the information on your machine is stored in another location (at your office, for example), because if it’s not and you lose your machine, you lose all of your information too.
- Using public machines – these machines are insecure and could be infected with viruses. Avoid using them to login to personal and business email accounts. They are alright for checking the weather or looking at local news, but not for work.
Another security issue to keep in mind that wasn’t covered in the video is the use of wireless networks. An Internet connection is a necessity on the road, but free, unsecured Wi-Fi isn’t the safest option. The Chicago Tribune article, “Free Wi-Fi Can Cost You,” by Josh Noel explains:
Jason Glassberg, co-founder of Casaba Security, a Seattle-based technology security company, said the hazards associated with public Wi-Fi networks are so numerous that he does not log on to them; he connects to the Internet through his iPhone. When he must access the Internet on a public network, he does so through a virtual private network — VPN in industry speak — that allows him to encrypt his data through a personal server back home.
An obvious security tip is to be aware of your surroundings. You never know who could be peering over your shoulder.
Here are some more corporate security travel tips.
Beware of Malware
Home computers connected to your business become an extension of your office. Infection with a virus, worm, Trojan or other malware can spread to your corporate network. Attacks on mobile devices have been increasing and a growing amount of malware has been found on mobile devices.
Keep Your Laptop Close
If you set your computer bag down on the ground when someone asks for directions, a third person can swoop in and steal the laptop bag off the ground. Keep an eye (and a hand) on your work devices at all times.
Locations where you must give up your bags are a prime location for bag switching. Watch for switch of bags at metal detectors and baggage claims. In addition, never check your laptop as luggage.
Never Leave Your Email Logged In
You don’t want someone who gains access to your laptop to be able to login to your email accounts, or worse, your bank accounts. This is especially important when using Internet cafes and unsecured networks. Use a VPN instead of the public connection to protect your data.
Clients May Let You Use Their Office Because It’s Bugged
Some dishonest people will tell you to talk over their proposal while they leave the room. They then go to a room where they can monitor your conversation. Consider taking a few hours to discuss the proposal with your colleagues in your hotel or a local cafe instead.
Carry Portable Media Separately
Memory sticks, USB, portable hard drives, zip drives, memory cards or anything that you use to back up your data shouldn’t be carried in your laptop bag in case you lose the entire bag. Separate your devices and keep a list of what you brought along so you know if anything goes missing.
How many times have you been on a plane and read data on the computer of the person near you or listened to their conversation? Watch over your shoulder, and perhaps invest in a laptop privacy screen. In a cab, your conversations could be recorded visually or audibly, so be careful what you say.
Take Caution in Hotels
When staying in a hotel, stay alert:
- Don’t leave your notebook or devices unsecured.
- Watch for cleaning staff going through your things.
- Beware of hotel phones or IT being bugged.
- Keep portable devices locked in a safe or suitcase, not open on a desk.
- Be careful when using public photo copiers.