Mobile Device Security When Traveling Abroad – Cyber Security Awareness Month 2017

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Securing Your Data: Mobile Device Security When Traveling Abroad

If you need a laptop computer, borrow a loaner from your departmental IT support group. Ensure the laptop has the necessary software you plan to use on your trip. When you return, the IT Specialists should clean the computer (wipe the drive and reinstall software). Assume the laptop computer will become infected with malware while traveling; the cleaning process protects other devices from becoming infected once the laptop computer returns to the local network.

  • If your departmental IT support group has a loaner mobile device (for example, iPad, Android tablet), you may consider using it rather than your personal device.
  • Unless it is absolutely necessary, disable wireless technologies on your laptop computer and cell phone such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Bluetooth headsets are strongly discouraged and should not be taken with you. When these technologies are needed, make sure all local shared folders are password protected. Wireless technologies can be used to gain entry to hosted devices such as laptop computers, mobile devices and cell phones. Once entry has been gained, access to intellectual property, proprietary information, files and passwords becomes available. In addition, keyloggers can be installed which collect all keystrokes and store them into a file that is later downloaded.
  • Never let your cellular phone and mobile devices out of sight. When not being used, turn off your cell phone and mobile devices. Minimize the data contained on the device. Some phones can be remotely controlled so that the microphone and camera are enabled which allows remote users to listen to, watch, and record conversations.
  • When connecting to the internet via wired or wireless, use OSU’s virtual private network (VPN) software to access the internet. A VPN provides for a secure and encrypted connection to the internet.
  • Be aware of all usernames and passwords you use while traveling. Once you return, change these passwords. Consider creating a temporary account on Gmail or Yahoo before you leave that can be used for email communication. Limit use of instant messaging and text messaging.
  • When using thumb/USB drives, use a PIN and encryption code to protect the data. If the drive is scanned or lost, the data is more secure when protected with an extra layer of encryption technology.
  • Unless calls from your cell phone are encrypted, the foreign government can monitor them even if you use a U.S. cellular company’s service. Be aware of communicating confidential or proprietary information. Some users may consider a pre-paid cellular phone that can be disposed of upon returning to the U.S.
  • Do not take unneeded car/house keys and credit cards. Clean out your billfold/purse of any financial information such as bank numbers and logins/passwords.
  • The U.S. Government’s “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program” can be helpful in planning your trip and ensuring a safe return:

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