Safe Internet for the Business Traveller

Your valuable intellectual property and other proprietary information could be vulnerable to electronic snooping. Entrepreneurs report incidents of laptops and other devices being tampered with in customs and when left in hotel rooms in certain countries. Recently we have also seen signs that email, Internet use and phone conversations may have been subject to surveillance. So you should take some precautions before you travel to risky countries.

Before you travel:

  • Turn off your Bluetooth function for the whole journey.
  • Lock your device with a PIN or password, and use whole disk encryption to protect stored data.
  • Delete unneeded data from your devices before you travel. 
  • The latest Windows and Mac operating systems have built-in firewalls. Make sure the firewall has been enabled.
  • Purchase a YourPrivateVPN account before you travel and test it.

At the airport:

  • Check the WiFi connection. Check the network name – avoid network that sounds too tempting like: “Free Wi-fi”. You can always visit the airport website before you leave to read up about the airport wi-fi service.
  • Keep your laptop wireless off when you are not connecting to the Internet.
  • Switch on your VPN connection, when connected to the internet.
  • Use only your secured web email and don’t use mail software like Outlook that automatically transmits your login information – unsecured.
  • Don't use US based email services like gmail, hotmail, outlook.
  • As with laptops, keep smartphones and tablets in sight at all times. Respectfully but firmly decline to let customs officers take your devices to a backroom without you.

At your destination:

  • Use caution when using public computers such as those in hotels, coffee houses, or Internet cafés.
  • Ask a hotel manager to confirm the name of the hotel network and that the network is encrypted (i.e., locked and password protected). 
  • Switch on your VPN connection, when connected to the internet.
  • In some cases the hotel routers are configured in a way not to accept VPN traffic or have limited vpn connections available.
  • If Skype/VOIP is blocked you are able to unblock skype with the VPN connection.
  • If you need to connect to your bank, use the good old telephone to contact your manager.

Smartphones: 

  • There are two options:
  • Set up your phone’s security. Switch off the wireless connection when you’re not using it. Also, don’t forget that your device, especially if it’s an Android, is vulnerable to malicious software.
  • Switch on your YourPrivateVPN connection. You can use the same account as for your laptop. 
  • or:
  • Use a throwaway, pre-paid cellphone, which you should buy in your home country, e.g. not in China.

Good Luck and a Succesful Business