As a regular traveller on all forms of transport it amazes me just how lax people can be about personal and device security. To make sure you’re not unwittingly putting yourself and your personal information at risk, here are our eight top tips for staying safe when you’re on the move.
Get the latest updates for your smartphone or device: Keep up-to-date with the latest updates for your device so your gadgets aren’t vulnerable to thieves and hackers. These updates ensure security measures and patches are fully updated and help deal with any know vulnerabilities – especially important if you use your device for personal transactions.
Turn off Bluetooth in public places: Bluetooth is a brilliant feature for use in the car or at home, enabling us to safely communicate with known and trusted devices. But remember, when you’re out and about others can pick up your signal and access your phone without you realising. Keep safe by turning Bluetooth off in public places. If you really need it for a mouse or keyboard, keep a careful eye on any unusual connection requests.
Activate auto lock and Password protection: Most people leave their devices unattended from time to time, particularly on trains in order to use the bathroom or visit the buffet car. Where possible, always take them with you. If you do leave them at your seat, enable both any auto locks and secure password protection. You might want to makes sure you’ve activated your “find my phone/device” feature, which can be invaluable if you have mislaid it.
Only Use secure Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi is great isn’t it. But how secure is it? If you need to use a public Wi-Fi try to stick to the ones using password protection and never log into your bank account or emails on an unsecured network. If you use a public Wi-Fi to access your email or check your flight details, always double check you’ve logged out of your account. Most smart phones have the ability to create a Wi-Fi hot spot: by doing this you are using your own phone (and data) hence keeping it secure. If you’re a regular user of Wi-Fi on the go, consider investing in a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. This lets you access the web safely and privately by routing your connection through a server and hiding your online actions.
Be aware of shoulder surfing: “Shoulder surfing” happens when someone views information on someone else's screen. We’ve all been sat next to someone on a train and know how easy it is to be drawn to their screen, simply out of curiosity. Most of the time it’s completely innocent. But occasionally the intentions can be far more sinister with far reaching consequences. Think about investing in a privacy filter. It’s a thin film placed over the screen of your laptop which allows you to see your screen when viewed straight on, but obscures the view from any other angles.
Use a safe: Most hotel rooms have safes these days, particularly business orientated ones, which are free or cost a small daily fee. Always use a hotel safe to store anything of value and for items you do not require during the day such as laptop, USB, external drives, work files and papers. Don’t leave these lying around your hotel room.
Check sensitive accounts regularly: Before you leave on a trip check sensitive financial accounts, check them during again your trip and when you get back. The sooner you spot fraudulent behaviour, the better. When you’re checking them on the move, be sure to use a known secure network!
Know where your things are: It is easy to get into a fluster at an airport boarding gate or a train station, rummaging for your ticket or passport and then stuffing them back into an open pocket on your bag. Keep money, passport etc out of sight in a closed internal pocket. Consider splitting money and credit cards into different pockets, that way you at least have some cash or means to get some if you are pickpocketed. If you’re heading abroad take copies of your passport and keep these secure. Most smartphones have the ability to store sensitive information in a virtual vault, useful for storing info you may need in an emergency.
A little bit of care and attention, some planning and being vigilant at all times will ensure your travels remain safe and hassle free.
Tom Waddell is Operations DIrector of Palladium Associates. A Fellow of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (FIRP), Tom has worked in recruitment and business operations for 30 years. He has significant experience in the supply of staff for sensitive and high-profile situations and has worked with many UK and overseas police forces, government departments and private organisations.
Palladium Associates supports both flexible and long-term needs for high quality security, revenue protection and customer facing staff to safely and effectively manage high profile, crowded public events and situations. The company works with major transport organisations such as ScotRail, Metrolink, Nottingham Trams and Blackpool Transport.
Do you want to have a chat about how we could help support your customer service and security requirements? Why not get in touch.