How to travel safely with your computer
Regardless if we travel in business or on a vacation, we tend to bring our computer with us (at least I do). Common sense tells us to not check in our computer, but there are other things that we really ought to do.
The first thing you want to do is to use disk encryption. The reason for this is simple: if you lose your laptop, nobody can access your files. This really isn’t as difficult as it may sound to set up. Mac OS X comes with two built-in types of disk encryption:
- Encrypted disk images
- FileVault (encrypted home directory).
The encrypted disk image is great if you just want to protect a few files, but FileVault is better if you want to protect all your files. It should however be noted that FileVault comes with a pretty major drawback: it only allows you to do TimeMachine backups when you are logged out of your account.
It should also be mentioned that Lion will come with full-disk encryption, which makes dealing with encryption as an end-user both easier and more secure.
If you’re not on a Mac, you can instead use TrueCrypt, which is a great Open Source encryption tool available for all platforms (including Mac OS X).
The second thing you want to do is to install Prey. This is a really awesome free service that allows you to track your computer if it gets stolen. In addition to tracking your stolen computer geographically, it also allows you to snap picture using the webcam, along with other cool features. Prey is available to most platforms, including Android.
With this advice on how to travel safely, I hope you have a pleasant next trip.
PS. Do not forget to keep proper backups of your data. TimeMachine makes this easy, but don’t rely on a single copy of your backups. Hard drives are cheap, but your data is hopefully worth a lot (at least to you). Ds.