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Travel Safety

Traveling this year? If you are, you're almost certainly taking your laptop with you. Because let’s face it, who can go for days without Internet access? We have put together some tips on how to protect your PC and online identity while on the road.

Don't broadcast your vacation plans to the world
Sure, you are excited about vacation, and would like to share your excitement with all your friends – but you may want to think twice before posting the exact travel dates and your location across social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Features like Facebook Places can easily be misused. Want to know where someone is? Check Facebook. Want to know when someone is away from home? Check Facebook. Just consider how many of your friends “check in” at home – thereby providing their full address and even a map of where to find your home. Remember to always be cautious of what you share and with whom.

Public Wi-Fi and Privacy
If you plan to access wireless networks in public places during your holiday, such as at the airport or hotel, there are a few things you may want to consider. Hackers troll places like that, looking for personal information they can use to steal your identity. Always remember, when you use public Wi-Fi, your data is potentially visible to others.

  1. Watch out for fake Wi-Fi’s. If you accidently log in to a wireless network created by a hacker, all your information can be recorded and spyware can be installed. Make sure you find the authorized providers.
  2. Try to avoid Wi-Fi connections or hot spots that are not encrypted or password protected
  3. Make sure you have a firewall and an up-to-date anti-malware solution, at minimum. Windows also has security settings that will let you block incoming traffic.
  4. Encrypt the important files that are stored on your laptop.
  5. Use a password manager, so that you don’t have to type in any passwords manually. If you need to enter credit card numbers, consider using a temporary credit card. A lot of banks have started offering virtual credit cards - temporary card numbers for online purchases. The best part - this service is often free.

Protection for your laptop
If you're traveling with your laptop, make sure you password-protect it and back up all your data before you leave.

When the weather gets hot, you may also notice the computer fan turning on a lot more frequently. If the computer gets too hot, it will start to run more slowly, and may even stop running altogether. So remember to keep your PC out of the sun, and make sure the fan isn’t blocked.

Safe travels, Jan & Ken Peterson