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Tip Too Simple

When even an unskilled attacker gets physical access to your phone or laptop for just a few seconds, s/he may take full control of your device for the long term. A $40 USB “rubber ducky” takes data pre-encryption, as you type or speak it. Perhaps s/he’ll return your device right away, making some excuse for why it momentarily disappeared from the restaurant or conference table.

Men, get yourself a good-looking, horizontal (= comfortable) phone case which attaches firmly to your belt, and make a habit to return your phone to this case whenever you finish using it. Women, get such a case, or small bag, which hangs comfortably from your shoulder where your phone hangs when not in use (from a strap with steel wire inside, if possible). Never park a phone in your rear jeans pocket! (This is likely how 1 thief stole 100 phones in an afternoon at Cochella 2017).

Everyone should get a small, light (max 3 lb.) laptop and an attractive backpack that houses your travel PC (and sensitive papers!) when away from home or office. Splurge on one you really like, maybe leather! Only a small backpack will reliably keep even a feather-light PC in your control when you’re out and about. I learned the hard way.

Some years ago, in Buenos Aires airport, I inched forward on the check-in line. The day had been long, tiring. I wove my way through airport crowds, alternately hanging a briefcase laden with my 6 lb. laptop off one shoulder then the other. Finally reaching the check-in line, I set the case down, and wedged it tightly between my legs as I inched forward.

A thief darted out of the crowd, kicked the briefcase hard to one side, and was gone with it in a split second. Airport police told me that professional thieves had divided the airport into dedicated territories. He DIDN’T say that thieves surely gave a cut to airport police to protect their territories.

In the years since, this problem in busy airports, crowded hotel lobbies, etc. will have grown, driven by the commercial value of a business person’s data.

Only a backpack will distribute weight evenly and comfortably enough to avoid fatigue, and keep your data safely attached to your person!

Keeping your gear close is MUCH simpler than worrying whether your “find-&-wipe-my-phone” settings were correct, then how to execute the commands when you are panicky and upset from a theft!

Will you remember whether your PC was sleeping or hibernating (rather than shut down)? Will sleeping or hibernating trigger your full-disk encryption?

Did you know that Windows 10 home edition doesn’t even HAVE full-disk encryption? (This is like an auto-maker not putting seat-belts in their cheaper models!) Windows 10 home is NOT safe for the business traveler. In a future blog, I’ll tell you about the lightest & most secure computer for business travel!