Traveling with electronic devices in checked baggage significantly increases the risk of device or data theft, as well as physical damage. This article will help you take the necessary preparations to safely check your laptops and other electronic devices.
- Use hard-sided luggage with locks (not TSA002 lock: these locks are useless as they can be opened very easily). The locks are often removed by security, however they provide some protection during parts of the transit. Some airports offer a "wrapping" s service where for a small fee they will completely encase your baggage in plastic wrap. This may also help to deter casual theft.
- Keep devices in padded sleeves designed for the purpose.
- Store items as close to the center of your luggage as possible to protect it from hard knocks.
- Completely power off the devices.
- Ensure that PIN codes or passwords are configured at startup in order to access the devices.
- Limit the amount of personal information stored on devices that could be compromised. Remove any sync'd filesharing applications such as Dropbox, Onedrive or Box and make sure the previously sync'd files are removed and the Recycle Bin emptied. Emptying the Recycle Bin does not completely erase the data, but it will provide some protection from common thieves. If your data is extremely sensitive, you may need to use a secure erasure applications such as Eraser.
- Remove any portable media such as thumb drives or data cards and keep them with you.
- For mobile devices, ensure that encryption is enabled according to the manufacturer's instructions. Note that Apple iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) are encrypted by default. Android and other mobile devices require you to enable encryption.
- For laptops, consider encrypting the hard drive if sensitive data must be stored on it.