Packing, even for a long trip abroad, used to be so much less complicated. Recently on a trip to Russia with two friends, all of our electronics got hacked. One friend had to buy a new cell phoned another had his bank account robbed. I just had to change some passwords. And there I was admiring how St. Petersburg had wonderful free public WiFi everywhere! Cyber security expert Joseph Sternberg listed 16 Things You Must Do Before Traveling If You Want to Stay Cyber-Secure in the new issue of Inc. "Criminals," he wrote, "have been targeting travelers for as long as there have been people and roads. The modern world is no different, and, even in locations in which a person might feel physically secure, hackers and cyber-crooks might still be launching full scale attacks. As such, here are sixteen things that you should do before traveling in order to dramatically improve yours odds of avoiding a cyber-catastrophe."
1. Bring only the electronic devices that you need for the trip.The FCC also has some generic suggestions about traveling abroad with electronic devices... and so does North Dakota State University.
2. Obtain a "throwaway" or "high risk zone" device if you are traveling to a high risk zone for hacking-- for example, China. [Many big companies do this for their employees on company business routinely.] ... [D]o not turn on any of your normal devices in the high risk zone-- and, even better, don't bring them along for the trip in the first place.
3. Backup all of your data before leaving.
4. Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth... [and] keep them off for the duration of the trip.
5. Notify your credit card company and bank where and when you are traveling... [to] improve their chances of preventing fraudulent charges or payments made by someone local to your home who has stolen your card or account information and attempts to commit fraud while you are en route or away.
6. Notify friends, relatives, and/or coworkers... [to] reduce the likelihood that they will fall prey to social engineers and virtual kidnappers.
7. Turn on your mobile phone's lock feature.
8. Enable remote wipe (and remote lock if it exists) for all of your mobile devices.
9. Encrypt... stored sensitive data.
10. Make sure that your name and contact information are visible on your mobile devices to help anyone who finds your devices return them to you.
11. Bring your own power sources... [because] various power cables and power banks have been found to contain chips that install malware onto devices to which they are attached.
12. Make sure that you have up-to-date security software.
13. Make sure you have all the hardware and software that you will need during your trip.
14. Prepare for sale social media usage [by] turning off location tracking and any automatic check-in features running on your social media accounts.
15. Plan your data access in advance.
16. Prepare your baggage to keep your data safe [by] making sure all of your equipment containing sensitive information fits in your carry on bag [not check in luggage].