ABC News got the scoop from former TSA Screener, Pythias Brown, who admitted that luggage theft, electronics in particular, was very common amongst TSA employees. TSA reportedly fired over 380 officers over the past 9 years due to theft. Unfortunately for Brown, being fired was the least of his issues.
In 2009, Brown was convicted and spent three years in prison for stealing more than $800,000 worth of items over the course of four years. His testimonial has left travelers wondering if their luggage will ever be truly safe.
Keeping in mind Brown’s testimonial and additional risks that we take with our technology while in an airport, DriveSavers, a data recovery provider, has pulled together a list of tips to safeguard your electronics when traveling.
Baggage Check Point
According to the TSA website, neither airport X-ray machines nor other screening equipment create a magnetic pulse that could harm digital equipment. However, the TSA does state that the X-ray screening equipment may damage film with an ASA/ISO of 800 or higher. So in order to keep your film safe remember to never place undeveloped film in your checked baggage. Be sure to secure your film in your carry-on bag and request a hand inspection prior to the screening.
Stolen or Lost Gadgets
No matter how busy you are, protecting your data your data is imperative. By backing up all of your data (photos, videos and important documents) you will be able to recover all of your valuable information should something happen in transit. You can make backups easier by automating the process with software. For added protection use the triple-redundant method: Back up locally to a hard drive or other media, back up to a secondary local device and take the media offsite; back up across a network to a server or online backup service. Also, it’s always a good idea to use a password manager for all of your gadgets, so if someone should get a hold of your laptop or iPhone, they would not be able to access all of your personal information.
Damaged Hard Drives
While not ideal, accidents do happen. If you do experience damage to your computer hard drive when traveling, remember NOT to use utility software if the drive makes scraping, tapping, clicking or humming sounds. Also, do NOT power up a device that has obvious physical damage or is making unusual sounds. This may cause further damage or permanent data loss. If you have lost critical data, there are professional data recovery companies that could recover your data, quickly and securely!