02 May 2013

9 tips for traveling with technology

Apart from using Undercover, how do you keep your Mac and data safe when you’re on the road? Here is some useful advice:

  1. Avoid using computer bags that look like computer bags. I use a regular backpack to tag my Mac along.
  2. Save stuff online. iCloud, Dropbox and other web-based services are your friend here. Not only can you use them to access your data anywhere, they provide a place to keep your files out of reach in case your Mac gets stolen.
  3. Use strong passwords, certainly don’t keep them in the same bag as your Mac.
  4. Encrypt your sensitive data. Undercover (or other theft-recovery software) is unfortunately not compatible with full-disk encryption, but there are other solutions to keep your (business’) info secure. (Like Knox, for example.)
  5. If you don’t need that level of security, do take the effort to set up a password for your account. Automatic login may be convenient, but can the thought of a stranger going through your personal files perhaps change your mind about that?
  6. When you have a theft-recovery application like Undercover installed, you’ll want the thief to be able to go online so the software can gather as much tracking information as possible. Create a separate (honeypot) account without a password. This dummy account will provide the thief an easy way to use your Mac, without access to your personal files.
  7. Set a screensaver password. Also a bit less convenient, but it will be a comfort to know the thief (or any other creep) can not access the account that you left open while you go to the bathroom at Starbucks.
  8. Enable the Apple Firmware Password. It will prevent anyone who doesn’t know this password from wiping or replacing your HD.
  9. Keep an eye on your Mac and keep it as close to you as possible at all times. Take it with you as carry-on luggage when you’re flying. I also always store my backpack under the seat in front of me, and not in the overhead compartments. (I’m tiny, so I usually don’t have any problems with my designated leg room on the airplane. :))

Also have a look at these great tips from whereisjenny.com: http://www.whereisjenny.com/2010/11/28-tips-for-traveling-with-laptop-slr-camera/


Anonymous said...

On point 4, you can always set up an encrypted disk image for your data using Disk Utility - you don't need to use additional software. It's a good idea not to have the keychain remember the password though (as long as you do!!).

Peter Schols said...

That's true. While Disk Utility is somewhat harder to use than third party software, it's true that it can be used to create an encrypted disk image. Thanks for the tip!