Kevin Mitnick’s best practices for data protection

this article that spells out the hassles he experienced when returning from Bogota this two weeks ago.

I usually avoid giving convicted felons such as Kevin Mitnick much credence.  While I acknowledge that Mitnick was a gifted phone hacker and, other than mischief making, he was not the hardened criminal type.  Maybe I am jealous of his notoriety and big speaking fees.  But I think there is something to be learned from the data protection techniques he uses as revealed in

After landing at the Atlanta airport for a security conference, Mitnick was detained for four hours for reasons still not fully explained. To make matters worse, while customs officials in Atlanta were busy inspecting his cell phone, laptop, and luggage, police in Bogota were ripping open a package he had mailed to his U.S. address on suspicion that it contained cocaine.

That level of notoriety I do not envy.

Read towards the end of the article:

To protect his privacy and that of his clients, Mitnick encrypts all the confidential data on his laptops, transmits it over the Internet for storage on servers in the U.S., and wipes it from the computer before returning from any international trips, just in case officials decide to search or seize his equipment. He also encrypts his hard drive. And now, he says he is going to keep a "clone" of his MacBook at home so he will have an exact duplicate of it if it is ever seized.

Most of us would consider these extraordinary measures. But, considering his high profile, completely logical, as just demonstrated by the manhandling his computer equipment suffered at the hands of the FBI.  (Who by the way have completely exonerated Mitnick in this incident.)

So summing up:

1. Use a MacBook. All the paranoid security guys do.

2. Encrypt your hard drive.

3. Encrypt important files and back up to cloud based storage. 

4. Wipe confidential files from your hard drive before entering hostile territory. 

5. Keep a clone of your laptop at home in case your laptop is seized by authorities. 

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