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Security tips for Mac travelers

Glenn Fleishman | Nov. 22, 2012
When you hit the road, it’s easy to get paranoid—especially if you’re carrying thousands of dollars’ worth of technology with you. You can alleviate some of your worries by taking security measures to protect yourself against someone running off with your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook.

When you hit the road, its easy to get paranoid especially if youre carrying thousands of dollars worth of technology with you. You can alleviate some of your worries by taking security measures to protect yourself against someone running off with your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook.

Use common sense 

If youre not used to toting a machine outside your usual rounds, dont forget these precautions.

Dont leave devices lying around: Dont leave your laptop or other device on a table or counter at a coffee shop or other establishment and walk away or turn your back. Hardware is too easily snatched and too portable.

Dont leave bags untended: Dont walk away from a bag that holds your phone, tablet, or laptop. Its simple for a thief to poke around without attracting notice, especially during the holidays when shops are busy.

Dont use devices in unsafe locations: Dont pull out that brand new iPhone or iPad device in an area where it can easily be snatched. This means both a dark, isolated street and densely-packed areas, like Times Square.

Dont bother with laptop locks: At one point, we used to recommend using a locking cable with you laptop. But Apple has slimmed down the MacBook's design and eliminated  security slots.

Password protect your devices

What if a thief does get your device is the trouble just beginning? It might be, if you havent bothered with basic methods for protecting your data.

Passcode lock your iPhone and iPad: Just because someone gets your phone or tablet, doesnt necessarily mean he also gets unrestricted access to all your email messages, all your contacts, and just for good measure your Amazon.com account. Even if you dont normally use a passcode or a screen or sleep lock, enable it before you travel. On iOS 4 and later, locking a phone or tablet prevents both access to the device and protects the data storage on it through encryption.

Password protect your MacBook: Do you really want to join the ranks of people whove compromised work data by leaving a laptop unattended and unprotected?

Launch the Keychain Access utility (in your /Applications/Utilities folder), and then select Keychain Access > Preferences. Select the Show keychain status in menu bar option. Now, whenever you step away from your computer, you can choose the lock icon in the menu bar and pick Lock Screen. Make this process automatic by going to System Preferences and opening the Security & Privacy pane. Click the General tab and select the Require password option immediately after sleep or screen saver begins. You can adjust the time period using the drop-down menu here.

Encrypt for maximum protection

 

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