Travel Tips for Cyber Security


These guidelines are to help you while traveling, especially abroad. They are not intended to be legal advice. If you will be traveling to a country which you believe may be a high risk for U.S. citizens, please contact International Programs Office or the U.S. Embassy for further advice.


Install updates before leaving

Install all updates or patches on all of your devices before leaving campus. This includes all laptops, iPads, phones, or other electronic devices. Contact your TSP or the STC if you need assistance.

Ensure your mobile devices have a passcode

Your laptops and mobile devices should have good pass codes set, including 6 or more digits on your smart phones or tablets.

Consider a loaner device

If at all possible, take a loaner or temporary device instead of your primary laptop which may have multiple years of files on it. In case of theft or loss, the risk is lower for U of I and minimizes the impact to you and the university upon your return. Avoid storing any data on the device, but instead use cloud services, like OneDrive for storing and accessing files. Also, if you are traveling on Non-University International travel, you must NOT take any university equipment or resources without prior approval. See APM 70.23 B-5.

Encrypt your laptop

OIT supports standard encryption on Windows and macOS devices using Bitlocker or Filevault. Remember that an encrypted device is most secure when powered off - and turn your laptop off when not in use. Contact your TSP if you would like to add encryption on your device.

Change passwords before leaving

We recommend changing your U of I password 1-2 weeks before leaving. This reduces the chance of you needing to change a password while traveling when you may have trouble getting assistance.

Learn more about MFA

Our DUO Multi Factor Authentication helps protect your accounts no matter where you are, but keep in mind the "push" notifications you may be used to only works if you have Internet service. You can still use the Mobile app, however, but opening the app and pressing the key icon to get your current passcode. This can be used with no Internet connection on your phone. Hardware tokens are also available from your TSP or the STC if you wish to take a backup second factor.


Avoid public WiFi

If possible, avoid public wifi which may used or established by criminals or intelligence agencies to spy on your activities or steal data or passwords. If you must use public WiFi, connect to U of I VPN before performing work. This may be slow in some cases, but protects your traffic from prying eyes. U of I VPN may not work in some countries, like China.


Other Resources

University International Travel APM 70.23

Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity while traveling (PDF)

FBI Safety and Security for the Business Professional Traveling Abroad (PDF)

Using Duo outside the United States 

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Article ID: 802
Fri 5/18/18 10:51 AM
Tue 5/14/24 11:33 AM

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