A life-lesson I learnt when I lost my notebook and passport whilst travelling several years ago, was to ensure I have access to all my important information like all passwords, passport numbers, important phone numbers, etc even if I lose my technology. For me this means keeping an encrypted file of my passwords on Dropbox. The file can be decrypted with OpenPGP that can be downloaded from the internet. Important phone numbers should be printed on a card somewhere, maybe with the phone numbers obfuscated so that if someone steals it, the phone number isn’t easily identifiable.
The alternative to keeping an encrypted file with your passwords, is to use an algorithm to generate them. If you base your encryption key on the website name, and then have your own algorithm for generating a password from the key (in a non-obvious way), then it is easy to recover each password just by following the algorithm.
So what’s going on when we connect to Wifi at the local cafe? We take out our notebook and connect to the Wifi, and then when we try and access a URL, we get an intermediate page instead. The page is maybe asking for a password, or for us to put in our email, and acts as a gatekeeper to the online world. Note that not all places do that – this post is about those that to intermediate access.
Just as a Galactic Hitchhiker generally has a towel with them, a Hi-Tech Nomad always has various forms of technology – phones and notebooks. Not only that, but usually there is the whole back-end cloud server environment upon which maintains our online presence. Computer security is thus a big issue for the digital nomad.
I saw a post on the Independent yesterday about how insecure hotel safes are. Apparently most don’t reprogram the master security code, and so can be opened by anyone who reads the manual. For example, the Saflok master code is 999999 (you need to go into “super-user” mode first; pressing the “Lock” button).