Traveling with Technology

We are constantly on the move.  As we move, we use and take technology with us.  Just like you should keep yourself and your family safe while traveling, you should keep your technology safe as well.  Below are some tips for traveling with technology (especially when traveling abroad) that will help keep you and your technology safe and secure on your journeys.

  1. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
    1. A VPN can help protect your internet traffic from prying eyes by encrypting your data and routing it through a secure server. This can help protect your online activities from being monitored or censored. If a VPN is not available, ensure you do not connect to unsecure networks and do not access sensitive information. 
      1. NOTE: Some countries may restrict or prohibit the use of VPNs.  Check local laws and regulations before using a VPN in your destination country.
  1. Update your software
    1. Make sure all your devices are updated with the latest software and security patches. This can help prevent malware infections and other security issues.
  1. Use strong passwords
    1. Use unique and strong passwords for all your devices and accounts. Avoid using easily guessable passwords like "password123".
  1. Enable multi- or two-factor authentication (MFA/2FA)
    1. Enable multi- or two-factor authentication (MFA/2FA) on all your accounts, which requires an additional code to log in. This can help prevent unauthorized access to your accounts.
      1. NOTE: Some MFA/2FA methods may not work in certain countries or regions, such as those that are sanctioned by the U.S. government.  Check the availability of MFA/2FA services before you travel and consider using alternative methods such as authentication apps or hardware tokens.
  1. Consider carrying a second phone/device
    1. Your normal/primary phone, computer, devices likely has connections to personal, financial, or corporate data. Consider using a second “burner” device while traveling and do not use it when connecting to sensitive sites (where you access your personal, financial, etc. information).  If using a second device, leave your primary device at home, locked away, or with trusted individuals.
      1. NOTE: It is generally not recommended to take your UNA-issued technology, especially to countries where security may be questionable or privacy concerns are heightened.
  1. Use a secure messaging app
    1. Use a secure messaging app like Signal or WhatsApp to communicate with friends and family. These apps use end-to-end encryption, which means that only the intended recipients can read your messages.
  1. Avoid sharing technology with others
    1. Do not use technology that has been borrowed from or used by local citizens
      1. Do not use USB drives, chargers, computers, etc. that have been used in technology in the destination country. Similarly, if you use your personal USB drive in a local computer, do not use it again in your personal computer.
    2. Do not use public Wi-Fi
      1. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, which can be insecure and potentially allow others to access your device or data.
    3. Avoid using untrusted computers
      1. Do not use public, untrusted computers as they may be infected or have security issues making them vulnerable.
  1. Be careful what you share
    1. Be cautious about sharing personal information or sensitive data online, especially on social media. Do not announce your travel plans as this gives individuals with malicious intent opportunity to spam/phish you or even locate your physical home while you are away.
  1. Use a password manager
    1. Consider using a password manager to generate and store unique passwords for all your accounts. This can help prevent password reuse and make it easier to manage your passwords.
  1. Keep a backup
    1. Make sure to keep a backup of all your important data, including photos, documents, and contacts. This can help protect against loss or theft of your devices.
  1. Be aware of scams
    1. Be aware of common scams, such as phishing emails or fake websites. Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments, especially if they are from unknown sources.
  1. Use a trusted charger (and power adapter)
    1. Use a trusted charger and avoid using public charging stations, which can be vulnerable to hacking or contain malware that can infect your devices. Consider bringing your own portable charger and surge protector to ensure a safe and reliable power source.
  1. Disable USB data transfer
    1. If you need to charge your device using a public charging station, disable USB data transfer on your device to prevent any potential malware or data theft.
      1. These settings will prevent users from reading, writing, or executing files from any removable storage devices, including USB drives, SD cards, and external hard drives.
  1. Use a portable power bank
    1. Consider using a portable power bank to charge your devices while on the go. This can help you avoid using public charging stations and keep your devices powered up when you need them.
  1. Encrypt your portable storage devices
    1. Use encryption software to encrypt your portable storage devices, such as USB drives, before traveling. This can help protect your data from unauthorized access or theft.
  1. Store your portable storage devices securely
    1. Keep your portable storage devices in a secure location, such as a safe or locked luggage, when not in use. Avoid leaving them unattended in public places or hotel rooms.