Security Post: Technology tips when travelling

Spring break is a common time to travel. Bringing your smartphone or laptop carries some risks. These devices store a lot of information – email, contacts, photos, videos and other personal and financial data – about ourselves and our friends and family.

Following are some tips to reduce your risk.

There are several good resources to review when planning to travel abroad.  They include:

An informative brochure published by the FBI that covers information and suggestions for business travel abroad.

The U.S. has a website where you can check the safety and security level of the country(s) you are planning to travel to.

Travelling tips:

–If possible, do not take your work or personal devices with you on international trips.  You may need your smartphone, but do you really need your laptop?
–Consider using temporary devices, such as a loaner laptop from the Library (for faculty and staff) and a prepaid cell phone purchased specifically for travel.
–If you do bring your smartphone make sure “find my phone” and “remote wipe” are enabled.
–Smartphones or tablets MUST be secured with a passcode or biometric lock.
–Backup your smartphone to your computer before leaving.
–If you do have 2-step authentication enabled on your college account (and you should), print out some backup codes to carry with you.  Keep in mind you can call the OIT helpdesk if you are stuck as well.
–Makes copies of your travel documents and any credit cards you’re taking with you. Leave the copies with a trusted friend, in case the items are lost or stolen.
–Avoid posting social media announcements about your travel plans; such announcements make you an easy target for thieves. Wait until you’re home to post your photos or share details about your trip.

While you’re there:

–Physically protect yourself, your devices, and any identification documents (especially your passport).
–Don’t use an ATM unless you have no other option; instead, work with a teller inside the bank.
–Avoid using computers available in public areas, hotel business centers, or cyber cafés since they may be loaded with keyloggers and malware.
–Be careful when using public wireless networks or Wi-Fi hotspots; they may not be secure, so anyone could potentially see what you’re doing on your computer or mobile device while you’re connected.
–Use the college Cisco VPN client when connected on unknown networks to encrypt your transmissions and browsing.
–Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on devices when not in use (airplane mode).
–Keep your devices with you at all times during your travels. Do not assume they will be safe in your hotel room.

Travel safe!