When you travel abroad, it is important to keep your personal electronic devices and any university-owned devices as secure as possible. Data that you carry with you may be valuable to individuals, foreign governments, and other entities that may attempt to steal it. The use of unsecured networks as well as the physical threats of damage to or theft of your devices are heightened during international trips. Taking steps to prepare yourself before departure, as well as exercising the proper precautions while you are abroad, can help to mitigate some of these risks.
Before You Go:
- Back up your data and make sure that you keep a copy of it in a safe and secure location. If possible, remove all sensitive information from your device (e.g., non-directory information on students, any of your own sensitive personal information, proprietary or institutional data, etc.), and password protect or encrypt sensitive data that you cannot remove.
- Change your myUK password, as well as passwords to frequently-accessed sites (e.g., Facebook, e-mail accounts, etc.).
- Update all software immediately prior to your departure.
- Turn off file-sharing and print-sharing applications.
- Turn off Bluetooth.
- Ensure that you have installed anti-virus, anti-spyware and personal firewall software, and that they are up to date.
- Ensure that your internet browser(s) are not set to remember log-in passwords.
- Be aware that in some countries, businesses and governments may try to access or steal valuable intellectual information saved on your device. If you are visiting a country at an elevated risk for such activity, avoid bringing sensitive information.
- Ensure that you have the proper plug adapter to charge your device in your destination country. Although your charger may be set up for both AC and DC current, the plug itself will likely require an adapter.
While You Are Abroad:
- Remember that at points of entry and exit, countries claim a right to search and seize your technology. If you encounter such a search or seizure, comply with the official's request. After there has been a resolution, and when you can safely do so, contact UK to inform the institution of what occurred.
- Remember that public networks should not be trusted. Any public wireless or wired network (such as in an airport, coffee shop, hotel, etc.) should be considered unprotected. Use the University VPN to provide some protection if you must use such networks.
- Be aware that in some countries, governments may monitor your Internet use without informing you.
- Be aware that pop-ups are often designed to install malicious software on your device. Be wary of clicking on them.
- Assume that any computer that you use, other than your own, is unprotected.
- Never leave any electronic device unattended, even in your hotel room. Doing so may result in theft of the device itself, or in theft of information contained in the device, even if it is physically left behind.
When You Return:
- Change your myUK password, as well as passwords to frequently-accessed sites (e.g., Facebook, e-mail accounts, etc.). If any of your passwords were compromised abroad, this will help mitigate the risk of continued access to your information once you return.
- Scan your device for any viruses or malware.
- If you believe your device may have been tampered with, or if you suspect that any malicious software may have been installed on it, have it examined by an IT specialist before connecting it to any other devices or networks at home.