I've written around a dozen books about computer security and keeping your computer protected from the bad guys. But when I travel, I still need to remember the simple steps that can make computing safe and productive while on the road.
Business travelers are easy targets for computer bugs, known as malware, as they can hop on unprotected networks around the world. So let's look at five of the 10 most important things you need to do to make sure you don't bring home more than you expected from your business trip -- like a computer virus or spyware.
At the Davos conference in January, Internet guru and
(GOOG) vice president Vint Cerf estimated that at least one-fourth of the 600 million computers connected to the Internet -- about 150 million machines -- are infected with some type of malware. That adds up to a lot of exposed personal and business data.
So how can you keep your information safe?
Step One: The Policy
If traveling for business, find out your company's policy for computing on the road and follow it. Your company may advise how your laptop or mobile device should be used away from the office. These guidelines may spell out how to attach to the company network, or if virtual private networking, or VPN, software is required.
Some polices may just offer a generic statement that it's a good idea to protect the company's data, inside or outside of the office. This could mean you're liable for loss of sensitive business information, though, so proper protection is paramount.
Step Two: Don't Share
You probably have file and printer sharing enabled if you connect to a wireless or broadband router at home. However, it's a good idea to disable it before leaving, unless you're going to be specifically sharing files with someone on the road.
To view Russell Vines' video take of today's segment,