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 Google ( 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, click here.

It's fairly easy to do this, and your operating system's help screen can guide you. It's usually found under the Properties screen of your Network Connection.

Step Three: Security Software

Be sure your laptop is loaded with the latest security software. The three most important ones are virus scanners, software firewalls and spyware scanners. And keep the files current by frequently running the update procedure.

If you're using a company-supplied laptop, it probably has the latest and greatest virus detection software. Some of the best are Symantec, Zone Alarm and McAfee. All three offer Internet security suites that include personal firewalls with virus detection, and free updates for a year.

Your laptop might not have specific antispyware programs installed, however. Two of my favorite ones, Ad-Aware Personal SE and Spybot Search and Destroy are free, so you don't have any excuse not to use them. I run both, as different software sometimes finds different bugs.

Step Four: Public Enemies

Be careful when using a shared computer in a hotel business center, on a conference floor or in a copy center. You don't know what kind of security software has been installed on the computer, so you can't assume your session will be private.

Sometimes hackers install keylogging software on shared computers to record and distribute personal-account information. Trojan horses have been installed on copy shop and hotel shared computers, and users' banking passwords have been stolen and distributed.

So if possible, never use a public computer for personal banking or sensitive communications.

Step Five: Cover Your Tracks

And when you're finished using that public computer, be sure to clear your browser's cache and cookies before logging off.

This will help prevent the next person using the computer from knowing where you've been on the Internet. Some cookies are written so poorly that they store your passwords and other personal information right on the computer, so another user might be able to retrieve that information.

This is also a good habit to get into, even when working from home or the office on your own laptop or PC. If Internet Explorer is your browser, do this by selecting "tools" -- "Internet options" and clicking "delete cookies," "delete files" and "clear history." Mozilla's Firefox browser can be set to clear the cache and cookies after every session, or check your browser's "help" menu for the commands.

In my next installment, I'll give you five more tips to keep your computer safe no matter where your business travel takes you.

Russell Dean Vines is Chief Security Advisor for Gotham Technology LLC and a bestselling author. His most recent book is The CISSP and CAP Prep Guide: Platinum Edition, published by John S. Wiley and Sons.

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