Data more valuable to steal than a passport

Data more valuable to steal than a passport

…..  Should agents be selling data insurance.

To a lot of people, I’m a tech geek. I love it.

To those who work in technology, I am a light weight.  The super IQ folk who program think code, security, connectivity and data. I’m lucky to work with some superb brains that make up for my shortfall.

The conversations between the “normal” and techo’s seldom meaningfully overlap.  Primarily because the average punter think the geeks get caught in techno conspiracy and the geeks think the average punter to be, well, dim.

Every now and then is an overlap and a Facebook associate hooked me up with a site called “FreeCodeCamp”. In amongst the highly technical pieces is one of the most horrifying stories I have read.

Think having a passport stolen or a wallet stolen whilst travelling is scary?  How about your whole digital life?

Its already happening.

The article documents the story of a scientist about to pass through customs, pulled out of the queue, detained and released only once he handed over the password to his phone.  Which contained a stack of NASA IP. In the half hour his phone was out of eyesite, its contents were sucked dry.

It sounds like a car jacking in customs.

But wait, you can’t do that, our country has laws to protect!  Technically you aren’t in a country and subject to its laws until you pass through customs.  It’s a grey area on the other side.  We all know the emotional pull of passing the gates, getting the stamp, collecting our bags and getting out.

Do agents have a responsibility to let travelers know the risks they are exposed to?  We advise for immunisations and travel insurance.  Good agents will advise on norms and customs for each country such as how much skin to expose.

For most of us, data is mostly something we consider private.  Think about your sent items folder, email contacts, Facebook posts and app history.  Do you want to share all of that?  This is a step further – someone stealing your machine, with a login and the capability to become you.  Losing that control would cost someone an enormous amount.  Its personality theft.

Think about your corporate clients.  All of that sensitive information on deals, product development.  Very valuable to all of the wrong people.

The easy solution?  Don’t travel with hardware that contains personal data.  I can hear the screeching already….but its not as hard or as dumb as it sounds.

The basic premise is travelling “vanilla”.  Imagine a computer or device with programs installed but they contain no data.  Before someone travels they wipe, set it vanilla, land, get secure WiFi, authenticate who they are and populate.  Crossing borders?  Delete and repeat each time.

Conspiracy theory? Technogeeks trying to scare you?


Real world risk of losing your very identity.




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