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Old 04-17-2008, 08:49 PM   #53
Gnarly Adventurer
donny662's Avatar
Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Michigan
Oddometer: 382
This is a lot of great information regarding things I haven't really considered before. Now, I will be better prepared when going on a trip.

Although, I am a little concerned about keeping personal information such as passport, DL, and credit card copies in an easily readable electronic format. If someone gets a hold of it, they could do a lot of damage before you realize and can take measures to stop it.

Any information that isn't needed by a first responder or hospital staff should be encrypted/password protected. Leaving sensitive information unencrypted is the same as tatooing it on yourself. Anyway, if you need that sensitive information, you will most likely be conscious and able to enter/give the password. You can leave the password with your ICE contact in the unlikely event that your sensitive information is needed and you are unable to give the password yourself.

The easiest and most universal way to encryt your data is to put it in a password protected .zip file. Use a program such as WinZip, WinRAR, or 7-zip to create the password protected zip file. Windows XP can even create a password protected file.

Instructions for Windows XP:
Step 1:

Gather all of the electronic copies of documents that you want to take with you but don't want to be accessible without your permission into the same folder.

Step 2:

Highlight the files that you want to be password protected/encrypted. Right click on the selected files, goto "Send To", and click "Compressed (zipped) folder".

Step 3:

A file with the extension .zip will be created. If you cannot see file extensions, you will notice an additional file in the list with the same name as another file but it will have a different icon: a folder with a zipper on it (you may not have the same icon if you have a program such as WinZip, WinRAR, etc. installed). You can change the name of your newly created .zip file to whatever you want.

Step 4:

Double-click on your new .zip file to open it (if a program such as WinZip opens instead of what is shown in the screenshot, right click on the .zip file, go to "Open With", and click on "Compressed (zipped) folders".) You should see in the address bar the icon zipped folder icon and "[Path to your zip file]\[name of your zip file].zip" (circled in red on screenshot).

Step 5:

With the .zip file opened properly, click on "File" and then "Add a Password...".

Step 6:

A window should pop-up asking you to add a password to your zip file. The pop-up may be buried under a few windows (it was for me); just move windows out of the way until you find it. Remember to choose a good password that is not easily guessable, is a combination of letters and numbers, and is one that you can remember (or give it to your SO or someone else you can contact if you forget). Do not write the password down and keep it on yourself or your belongings.

Step 7:

Copy your new .zip file to your SD card, USB drive, Floppy disk, etc. and you're done! It's not that hard to keep your data safe while on the road. Now, when you go to access a document in your .zip file, it should prompt you for a password no matter what program or computer you use to access it.

Not much can make for a sour homecoming to a good trip like a burned down house or a stolen identity.
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