Mobile Device Security When Traveling Abroad – Cyber Security Awareness Month 2018

This blog post is intended to provide a follow up to a previous post. You are encouraged to read the previous post because it, too, contains relevant information about this important topic.

Travelers face an ever-increasing variety of cyber threats. Vulnerabilities, including unsecured devices and data and over-sharing information, can be minimized if we understand these threats and take appropriate precautions. Recommendations to help protect your data, devices, and professional and personal identity include:

  • Store data on a USB thumb drive or other removable media that can be destroyed after use and do not accept USB thumb drives or other removable media from any other sources. When possible, travel with a new or re-imaged device so that no data is stored on it. Do not plug USB-powered devices into public charging stations – only connect USB-powered devices to the power adapter with which they were intended to be used.
  • Keep electronic devices with you at all times. When not in use, devices, network connections and services should be turned or powered off.
  • Before traveling, change all passwords that you will use while traveling abroad and clear browsing histories and other stored information that could be abused by foreign entities. Upon your return change the passwords of any accounts that were accessed while abroad.
  • Delete unnecessary applications, plugins, and software.
  • Ensure your computer and mobile device has the most recent patches, software updates, and anti-virus software installed.
  • Where possible use a one-time web-mail account.

Other recommendations:

  • Do not access sensitive accounts or conduct sensitive transactions over public networks, including hotel business centers and Internet cafés. If a connection to sensitive accounts or systems is required, use a virtual private network (VPN) connection, if it is legal in the country to which you are traveling. Note that it is not legal to use OSU’s VPN in all countries outside the U.S. You should consult with your local contacts before using a VPN.
  • Know the local laws regarding online behavior as some online sites are illegal in certain countries, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Consult the State Department website for information about particular destinations.
  • Assume that all online activity is subject to government and/or other monitoring techniques, including OSU’s Outlook Web Access (
  • Use of mobile apps that contain encrypted communication may be illegal. Consult your local contacts before using the app.

Note about OSU’s VPN: the VPN offered by OSU encrypts and secures data only when accessing domains. When connected to the VPN, data transmitted to/from domains will be sent across the public network (unencrypted).



Adding Forms To Your Website Using Plone Forms and Office 365 Forms

Forms allow your website visitors to submit request for more information, provide feedback or register for an event. Web forms may be simple, for example to allow your visitor to contact you and provide information about a relevant topic or ask a question about an important subject. Web forms may be have a number of form fields such as an event registration form.

In general, best practices for designing a web form are:

  • Keep the form simple. Only ask pertinent information and make clear your expectations in asking for information.
  • Use examples with your forms to demonstrate the type of data your form requires. If possible, use default values.
  • Highlight required fields.
  • Offer clear instructions on the form page and provide clear feedback after the user has submitted the form.
  • When possible use your form to engage with the visitor by providing meaningful responses.

DASNR IT has provided instructional documents to assist DASNR personnel in creating forms for their websites. We have a number of units using forms and encourage all website maintainers to explore this functionality. Feel free to provide feedback using the form at the website or contact a member of DASNR IT!

Cybersecurity Awareness Month, October 2016 – Potentially Dangerous Apps

Have you considered how the internet is a worldwide playground where kids of all ages – 3 to 103 – can play, mostly unsupervised? On this playground, we can interact through real-time message apps or through post and respond methods. We keep in constant contact with friends and provide updates on our latest travels. While in this virtual playground strangers can initiate conversations. This article provides an overview of some popular social media apps used by teens and how parents can more closely supervise their kids while on the “playground”.

All users, especially kids and teens, should be aware of oversharing information – providing too much personal information that can lead to unintended consequences. But some social media apps encourage this behavior and facilitate a dangerous level of secrecy and anonymity for kids and teens. These apps have two basic troubling characteristics:

* Users can meet and connect with strangers outside their parents knowledge.
* The anonymity allows users to act with impunity and without fear of being identified.

Unfortunately the list of apps that fit into this category grows quickly; the following are some of the more popular apps used by teens:

* Kik
* Tinder
* YikYak
* Omegle
* MeetMe
* Whisper
* Blendr & Grindr

Some apps allow the teen to hide information that may have been collected (photos, screenshots, etc):

* KeepSafe
* AppLock

Parents should also be aware that many of the different gaming apps have in-game chatting or messaging. While these games can be harmless in the short term, players can be lulled into a false sense of security and give out personal information and even contact information.

How can parents stay engaged in the conversation with their teen?

* Talk to your child about the apps, not just the ones installed on their phone.
* Enable parental controls on the phone.
* Monitor their phone. Educate yourself about the installed apps.
* Install monitoring apps such Phone Sheriff or Secure Teen.

In general (kids, teens, and adults), when working with social media sites be aware of:

* Oversharing information. Providing too much online information can easily lead to identity theft.
* Friending strangers who pretend to be someone they are not.
* Location-based services that expose the user’s location and whereabouts.

Dwayne Hunter
Manager, DASNR Information Technology

Reference links:

App and Website Review – August 2016

The following reviews are provided as an FYI. Our desire is to provide our DASNR clientele with information about mobile/tablet apps and websites that assist in their professional (and personal) lives. Should you have questions about a particular app being mentioned, please feel free to contact the individual listed in each review. If you use an app that may be beneficial to others, let us know and we’ll help spread the word!


Remind is a great tool for sending text messages to groups without sharing your personal phone number. It is a popular tool in education to send reminders to students and parents about upcoming events, deadlines and trips. And the best part, it’s free to create an account. Apps are available on both Apple and Android devices. If you are looking for a great tool for reaching groups of people, check out Remind!



OpenTable (Android / iOS) is a great app for making a reservation for restaurants. You can search for places near you or by name. It allows you to search via how many people you have, date, times, price, type of cuisine, and even special offers. Once you book your reservation it will allow you to add it to your calendar on your device so you can receive reminders. You can also cancel, change, or modify your reservation in the app. A few other perks of OpenTable is that it shows reviews, ratings, the menu, and usually pictures of the restaurant.  I have used it for over a year, and the only downfall is that not all restaurants are in the app, but they are growing. Its a great app for convenience and finding new places to dine.



Lookout is a security app that regularly updates and scans your device and its apps for malware. Lookout has free and paid for versions that run on both iOS and android devices. The free version of Lookout also backs up your contacts and helps you to find your device even if the battery is dead. I highly recommend it and have it installed on multiple personal devices.



Parkmobile is a handy app for paying for parking in controlled (metered) locations. The company has locations across the US; in Oklahoma, Tulsa and OSU-Stillwater are included in their services. You register your vehicle with the app and make payments for parking through it, rather than at the parking meter. The app will notify you when your time is about to expire and allow you to extend it without having to return to your vehicle. The app is available for Android, iOS, Windows, Amazon Fire and Blackberry.



Office Lens (iOS/Android) is an app developed by Microsoft that uses your mobile device’s camera to capture whiteboards and documents and save them as PDF’s, import them to OneNote, or create editable Word documents or PowerPoint files. With built in OCR (Optical Character Recognition), you can scan printed or handwritten documents and edit them on your computer later. In Business Card Mode, it can even extract the contact information and save it to your address book. Save images to your device, OneNote, or upload them to your OneDrive for Business account.



During her July “Social Media Updates” webinar, Lindsey Davidson provided information about two useful tools for graphic image development:

  • Landscape” from Sprout Social is an image resizing tool.
  • is a site that allows you to create gifs.

If you are interested in an image resizing or image compression tool and feel overwhelmed by Photoshop, look at which provides free image resizing, compression, and conversion tools.




Extension Celebrates 100 Years!


On May 8, Cooperative Extension Service celebrated its 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 which officially created the Extension. Oklahoma is participating in the activities throughout 2014. For more information, see the OCES website.