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IT Traveling Safety

Before Leaving

As part of preparing to travel, cybersecurity is an important consideration for the digital age. The information stored on a phone or laptop can be just as valuable as the cash or card in your wallet, and must be guarded accordingly. Before departing, there are a few steps you can take to secure your devices.

  • Avoid publicly announcing any information about your travels, as this may alert thieves.
  • Consider using a separate, potentially temporary personal device for travel.
  • Ensure you have device location and remote-wipe features enabled, such as "Find my iPhone." Additionally, know how to use those features.
  • Set up device-wide encryption to ensure attackers can't extract personal information.
  • Switch from unreliable biometric authentication, such as fingerprint unlocking, to passwords or patterns.

While Abroad

While out and about, there are a few practices you may wish to implement in order to stay safe both digitally and physically.

  • Avoid online transactions that don't use secure HTTP. Secure connections are evidenced by the green lock in your URL bar, though this doesn't guarantee page security.
  • Ensure your items are protected physically. Pickpockets are a particular problem in tourist destinations, and prevention is more effective than reaction. Keep personal items close, and check frequently for phone/keys/wallet.
  • Keep services such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth disabled on your device unless necessary.
  • Take advantage of safes when provided by your hotel or residence, and keep important items such as authentication devices inside.
  • When using public wireless such as hotspots or internet cafes, bear in mind that any unencrypted data may be compromised. Look for the green lock icon to signify protection.

Additionally, international travel may require a few special precautions:

  • As risks are even higher, it may be desirable to encrypt your devices' entire wireless communication. Purchasing a quality VPN from a reputable host and nation can help protect your information abroad.Using a VPN or proxy may also let you access domestic services by masking your location.
  • Keep devices locked down or shut off in densely populated areas such as airports.
  • Usage of a temporary phone is further encouraged while international, especially given domestic phones will likely be subject to roaming charges.

Returning Home

Even after your vacation is over, it's important to stay vigilant regarding your online security. Upon returning home, here are a few steps which can further ensure your safety:

  • Change any PINs and passwords used while abroad.
  • Fully scan all of your devices for viruses and malware.
  • If you used temporary devices while traveling, ensure they are fully powered off and disconnected until their next usage.
  • If your travel required you to download any extra apps, remove them and their associated data unless specifically needed.


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