HMA Weekly Tip: Top 10 vacation tips for security

HMA Weekly Tip: Top 10 vacation tips for security

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Now that our users are looking forward to their summer vacations, it’s a good time to remind them to keep private information private when they are on their laptops and mobile devices aboard. Here are some guidelines to keeping data safe while abroad.

- Disable sharing of files
On your home network, you might be sharing folders or complete hard-drives without password protection. Don’t forget to disable your shares or at least protect them with a strong password, otherwise everyone who is logged into the next public wifi hotspot will be able to download all your shared files and sensitive data.

- Protect your files
You can secure your network settings all you want, but that will not help if your notebook gets stolen. Data like passwords, billing information etc. should not be visible clear-type anywhere on your computer. Use tools like e.g. TrueCrypt to create encrypted and password-protected partitions or containers for your sensitive data!

- Enough remaining VPN subscription time?
If your going to protect your internet traffic with HMA! Pro VPN while you’re away (which we recommend you do!), then you don’t want to suddenly be unable to use it because your subscription has expired. Make sure to place a new order to have sufficient remaining VPN subscription time for your trip. Login to the VPN control panel now to check your subscription and place a new order.

- Install all needed security software
Better prepare your machine/device before you depart, so that you have all the latest updates and antivirus definitions installed. Do you have a proper firewall and antivirus software installed? What about other security-related software you’re usually using?

- Prepare for possible connection issues
Due to badly configured or restricted public hotspots or unknown networks it can happen that your usual method for connecting to the VPN won’t work. But don’t worry, that’s simply a matter of trying alternative VPN servers and protocols.
For example if you are unable to connect to VPN google extension veepn servers from your favorite area, try to connect to servers from a different area. If you’re unable to connect with your favorite VPN protocol (e.g. OpenVPN-TCP), try PPTP, L2TP or OpenVPN-UDP. See our Wiki for a list of connection methods and setup instructions.

- Online storage for data you might need
Instead of taking all the data you might possibly need with you, you can also easily store it somewhere secure, e.g. on cloud hosting services such as Dropbox or OwnCloud.

- Make backups
Just in case – make backups of all important data on your machine/device and store it somewhere secure at home. Protecting the data on your notebook does not help much if the notebook itself is gone.

- Take backups
Ever had to reinstall your operating system during vacation? Bad enough, even worse if you forgot your rescue CDs or operating system installation CDs. To be on the safe side, you should take backups of everything with you that might require a reinstallation or can’t be accessed from anywhere. There’s plenty of space on your USB sticks or DVDs for that!

- Additional security measures
We’ve now already covered the basic and common security measures that you should take, but there’s plenty of additional things you can do, for example:

1. Setting up a BIOS password for your machine
2. Setting up anti-theft and auto-backup for iOS and Android devices, e.g. with Lookout
3. Delete your machines free space to prevent deleted data from getting restored
4. Move sensitive data that you won’t need during the trip from your notebook to your desktop computer

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