Travel & Cybersecurity
Traveling internationally offers opportunities for learning, research, and collaboration. However, it also presents unique challenges, especially regarding the security of your technology devices like laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
General Technology Guidelines
- Be Vigilant with Network Security: Assume all online activities are monitored. Avoid public Wi-Fi and use secure, trusted networks for accessing sensitive information.
- Device Security: Keep your devices with you at all times. If a device is taken out of your sight, consider it compromised.
- Beware of Unknown Devices: Do not use unknown USB drives or charging stations, as they may contain malware.
- Surrounding Awareness: Be cautious when entering passwords or viewing sensitive information in public spaces.
- Post-Travel Protocol: Upon return, have your devices professionally checked and reset to avoid introducing malware to the university network.
Laptops and Mobile Devices
- Keep Systems Updated: Ensure your systems are up-to-date with security patches.
- Minimize Data: Remove sensitive or confidential data from your devices before travel.
- Strong Passcodes: Use robust passcodes to protect your devices.
- Disable Unnecessary Features: Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use.
Before You Go
- Research destination laws, customs, and norms, including dress and photography rules.
- Duplicate important documents like passports and tickets; keep copies separate from originals.
- Cleanse and secure your electronic devices, removing sensitive data and enhancing security.
During Your Stay
- Keep your passport secure and report any loss immediately.
- Stay cautious in public areas, maintain a low profile, and protect your devices and data.
- Be socially aware, avoid oversharing, and steer clear of risky situations.
Upon Your Return
- Check your devices for malware and update passwords and access settings.
- Report any unusual incidents to enhance future security measures.
Your safety and security abroad reflect not only on you but also on your institution and country. Stay informed, prepared, and vigilant to ensure a safe and rewarding international experience.
Additional Tips for Researchers
- Export Control Compliance: Ensure compliance with U.S. export control laws when traveling with certain software or data.
- Data Backup: Back up all essential data and leave the backup in the U.S.
- Clean Devices: Travel with devices free of sensitive information.
Resources and Contacts
- U.S. Embassies and Consulates: Keep contact information handy for emergencies.
- FBI Office: Contact for reporting incidents or seeking advice (www.fbi.gov).
- State Department Travel Website: For country-specific travel advisories
- Overseas Security Advisory Council: For security news and reports (www.osac.gov).
- National Counterintelligence and Security Center Guidelines