You’re dreaming of a white Christmas, and hackers are dreaming of a green Christmas: your cash in their pockets. And hackers are everywhere, and are a particular threat to travelers.
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  • Prior to leaving for your holiday vacation, have an IT specialist install a disk encryption on your laptop if you plan on bringing it along; the hard drive will have encryption software to scramble your data if the device it lost or stolen.
  • Try to make arrangements to prevent having to use your laptop to handle sensitive data. If you must, then at least store all the data in an encrypted memory stick or disk encryption as stated above. Leave as much personal data behind when you travel.
  • Before embarking on your vacation, make sure that your devices are equipped with comprehensive security software such as antivirus, antispyware, antiphishing and a firewall so that you can have safe online connections.
  • If your device has a virtual private network (VPN), this will encrypt all of your transmissions when you use public Wi-Fi. Hackers will see gibberish and thus won’t have any interest in you. Don’t ever connect to an unprotected Wi-Fi network!
  • Always have your laptop and other devices with you, even if it’s to momentarily leave the hotel’s lobby (where you’re using your device) to get some water. When staying at friends or family, don’t leave your devices where even other guests in the house you’re staying at can get to them, even if they’re kids. Just sayin’.
  • Add another layer of protection from “visual hackers,” too. Visual hackers peer over the user’s shoulder to see what’s on their screen. If they do this enough to enough people, sooner or later they’ll catch someone with their data up on the screen.
  • Visual hackers can also use cameras and binoculars to capture what’s on your screen. All these thieves need to do is just hang nearby nonchalantly with your computer screen in full view, and wait till you enter your data. They can then snap a picture of the view.
  • This can be deterred with 3M’s ePrivacy Filter, when combined with their 3M Privacy Filter. When a visual hacker tries to see what’s on your screen it provides up to 180 degree comprehensive privacy protection. Filters provide protection by blackening the screen when viewed from the side. Furthermore, you’ll get an alert that someone is creeping up too close to you. The one place where a visual hacker can really get an “in” on your online activities is on an airplane. Do you realize how easy it would be for someone sitting behind you (especially if you both have aisle seats) to see what you’re doing?

Robert Siciliano is a Privacy Consultant to 3M discussing Identity Theft and Privacy on YouTube. Disclosures.

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