Keeping Your Data Safe When Traveling

Before travelling with your laptop or other device:

Consider bringing a clean device that contains only the data and programs you plan to use while traveling. If your device is lost, stolen, or confiscated, you will be in far better shape than if you were using your personal device with your complete data on there.

  • The following are some helpful tips to protect your data in the event your device falls into the wrong hands:
  • Back up your data and leave a copy of your files in a safe and secure location such as your office or a departmental file share.
  • Password-protect, encrypt, or remove all student, personal, and proprietary information stored on your device.
  • Ensure that your operating system has a strong password or passphrase when it boots up.
  • Turn off file-sharing and print-sharing.
  • Configure your screen to automatically lock after a short period of inactivity, and require your password to resume (unlock) it.
  • Make sure your system's patches are up to date.
  • Set up 2 Factor Authentication on your email account.
  • Ensure that anti-virus, anti-spyware, and personal firewall software is installed on your laptop.
  • Install the USA Virtual Private Network (VPN) client on your laptop so that you can securely access University resources. For more information, contact the Help Desk or 6-6161
  • Consider purchasing a tracking application for your laptop in case it is lost or stolen.
  • Keep your devices under your physical control or secured in a proper location when they are not. Never check devices or storage devices in luggage.
  • NEVER let anyone else borrow or use your devices.
  • NEVER leave your computer turned on and logged in, even in your hotel room.
  • Do not expect privacy. Certain countries have policies or legal environments that allow them to record everything and anything, from cellular calls to internet traffic.
  • Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on your devices, and only turn them on when in use.   
  • If you need to access important data at home, USA G Suite may help. Do not download any data unless you absolutely must.
  • Assume your data on any wireless network can be monitored, and act accordingly. Use a VPN whenever possible, especially while on public networks and/or when accessing sensitive data.
  • Never enter credit card, bank account, or other sensitive information over an insecure network. Log into The VPN gives you an added layer of protection by encrypting your data as it travels over the network.
  • Hackers can easily sniff and read your email if your email provider does not use an encrypted connection. University email is always encrypted, but for any site you visit make sure to check for the lock icon before entering a password or other personal information. If the site is secure, Firefox displays a lock icon in the Location Bar and the Status Bar, and Chrome and Internet Explorer display a lock icon in the Status Bar.
  • If you decide to use a public machine (for example, hotel lobby computer, library, or internet cafe), you should avoid entering sensitive information and make sure to use encrypted sites. Be sure to log out of any sites that you accessed, and remember to fully exit any browser. You may also want to clear your browser history. If you are at all suspicious of the security of the computer you are using, it is strongly suggested that you change any passwords you entered the next time you are at a secure machine.
  • Check to ensure all removable media and documents you may have used on your trip are appropriately stored or destroyed.
  • It is a recommended best practice to change your JagNet ID password upon your arrival back to campus. This is just in case someone was able to sniff, observe, or otherwise obtain it while you were traveling.