Whether headed to Starbucks, Las Vegas or overseas, digital nomads should pack lightly. Leave unneeded devices at home. Take just the essentials to get your job done without compromising your entire personal history. Bring a laptop lock to lock your computer to any workstation, as IBM instructs its traveling employees. Also, invest in a physical one-time password (OTP) authenticator. Some companies, like Google, require employees to use them. Employees cannot access anything without the physical device.
Leave sensitive data at home. Don’t bring devices containing personally identifiable information (PII) or confidential company documents. Do you use a particular laptop for online banking and signing mortgage docs? Leave it at home. Want to take your work computer on holiday? Reconsider. What happens to your career if company secrets fall into the wrong hands? Of course, taking your laptop on a business trip is expected, but just make sure it’s free of your personally identifiable information.
Use RFID blockers to shield your passport and credit cards from “contactless crime.” While contactless payments are convenient at grocery stores and toll booths, they can be quite problematic within range of threat actors employing radio frequency identification (RFID) scanners. An RFID scanner in the wrong hands allows hackers to simply walk past a group of people and unmask identifiable card information.
The simple way to guard against this is to employ RFID blockers (basically card envelopes, or “sleeves”) that protect payment cards, room keys and passports from radio frequency attacks, or skimming attacks. There are now entire categories of wallets, bags and purses integrating RFID technology. Fortunately, more modern RFID chips make pulling off this caper much more difficult — but not impossible.
Consider using a Privacy Screen for your laptop and phone.
When traveling to a security-fraught location, turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC) on your phone, tablet and laptop. Funny things can happen when traveling to China or even an unsecured Starbucks.
Choose a password-protected hotspot over hotel Wi-Fi. If you must use hotel Wi-Fi, pair with a VPN.
Be wary of Bluetooth devices like your remote mouse, keyboard and AirPods.
Use a VPN everywhere you go. According to Cloudwards, 57% of respondents say they don’t need a VPN for personal use, and 22% say they don’t need one for work.
Encrypt text messages and chats and other communication by using Telegram, Signal or another encryption-based communication platform. Assume third parties are reading unencrypted apps.