Change your password before you travel abroad

While it may be simple to reset your password to your university accounts on the campus network or via other secure networks in the United States, doing so abroad can pose a serious dilemma if you travel to an area where there is no access to a secure computing environment.

If you reset a password over unsecured networks, someone could steal it and use it to gain access to your university accounts and personal information. But if you don’t reset it and it expires, you won’t have access to your important data.

So what can you do to ensure a smooth and safe trip? Plan accordingly.

  • Reset passwords for your university accounts BEFORE you travel overseas. Passwords at NC State expire at least once per year. There are certain situations that can cause your password to expire more frequently. Reset your password before you travel to restart the default expiration clock and minimize the chance you will need to change it again. See the Unity Password Change Tool.
  • Use a strong password or code to protect your accounts and mobile devices. Include numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, characters, and symbols, if permissible, in your password. Make sure it is memorable but not too easy to guess. See the university Password Standard for additional information on choosing strong passwords.
  • Do not allow anyone to gain physical access to your device. A malicious individual can use this opportunity to install malware to crack your password or code to steal your data.
  • Avoid untrusted networks. In general, cellular networks are more secure than public WiFi networks. If you must use a wireless hotspot, never enter credit card or other sensitive information over that wireless connection, and if possible, avoid visiting websites (e.g., your bank, credit card company) that require you to enter a password. Instead, limit your activity to casual Web browsing only (e.g., reading the news, finding a nearby restaurant).
  • Enable 2-Step Verification, if available, on your accounts. 2-Step Verification, also known as 2 Factor Authentication, adds an additional layer of security when you sign into your account. Once you activate this security measure, you will be required to log in with your password and an additional security measure (e.g., a security code that is delivered to your mobile device via text, voice call or mobile app, a USB security key, printed backup codes). To view a list of applications that support 2-Step Verification, see Two Factor Auth (2FA).
  • Change your passwords immediately upon your return. To mitigate the risk of compromised passwords and accounts, be safe and remember to change the password to any accounts you access while travelling overseas.

Following these basic steps will help you stay secure while traveling internationally. If you require any assistance resetting your password, contact the NC State Help Desk at or 919.515.HELP (4357).