Ohio University

IT Security While Traveling

Traveling abroad presents additional risks related to the theft of devices and data. Connecting from unfamiliar locations and networks imposes a new threat landscape from what you traditionally are exposed to. Please consider where you are traveling, what devices you are taking, and what data you have access to through those devices during your trip.

  • Identify risk advisories for your destinations by viewing the Travel Advisories posted by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Remove sensitive data from the devices you are bringing with you. Limit the number of devices and amount of data you travel with to reduce the risk of exposure. Use temporary devices if possible, such as a University loaner device or disposable pre-paid devices as opposed to regular personal or work devices.
  • Configure encryption on your devices. The IT Service Desk can assist with University owned devices. For personal laptops, consider BitLocker for Windows or FileVault for Mac. Some foreign countries restrict the use of imported encryption software, so please research the software import laws of your destination country. 
  • Prepare multi-factor authentication for as many services as possible. 
    • For Ohio University, you can enable multi-factor authentication for all eligible services to provide the most protection to your account. (Under "Enable Multi-Factor Authentication for", select "All eligible services” and click save.) 
  • When traveling abroad you may not have cellular data, but you can still use Multi-Factor Authentication. Learn how to generate Multi-factor Authentication codes.
  • Set up Multi-factor Authentication for non-OU and personal services like banking, social networks, and email as well.
  • Configure Ohio University's Campus VPN
    • NOTE: Ohio Campus VPN requires multi-factor authentication. 
  • Request a temporary account (travel service account) to use while traveling. This reduces risk as your regular email account can be configured to forward to this service account for the duration of your stay, therefore you will not have to access using your direct account. 
  • Make sure your devices’ operating system and software are up to date. 
  • Ensure anti-virus is installed and enabled. 
  • Have a current back up of your devices.
  • Use strong passwords. Avoid dictionary words and add special characters. For cell phones, use alpha numeric or a passphrase instead of PIN entry.
  • Turn on "find my device" services and similar remote wiping services if available for your device. 
  • Keep your devices in sight at all times.
  • Be cautious when connecting to public Wi-Fi.  Use cellular data when possible but be mindful of roaming charges. 
  • Disable services like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on your device when not in use.
  • Use multi-factor authentication and a VPN when accessing information online. 
  • Avoid public computers, such as in internet cafes. 
  • Clear your internet browser after each use. (Delete history files, caches, cookies, etc.) 
  • If any of your devices are stolen, report it immediately to the local US Embassy or Consulate. If it was an Ohio University device or held Ohio University data, contact the Ohio University Information Security Office (security@ohio.edu or 740-566-7233) in addition to the local US Embassy or Consulate.
  • Change your passwords for any credentials you used when traveling. 
  • Return any loaner devices.
  • If you used a temporary travel account, ensure that the forwarding has been removed. 
  • Run an anti-virus scan on your devices.