Whether you’re leaving for a semester abroad, taking a flight to a conference on the other side of the country, or simply traveling to a nearby city, it is important to ensure your laptop and other mobile devices remain secure.
Below are resources and recommendations that will help keep data on both your personal and university-owned devices from being compromised.
Prior to Traveling:
- Review the NC State recommendations for Securing your Mobile Device for International Travel, especially if you are traveling with NC State equipment or accessing university data.
- Enable Google 2-Step Verification. This 2-factor authentication program helps protect your Gmail and Google Drive files from being accessed by intruders, even if your password gets hacked. Also, your successful logins using this secure method will help prevent account lockout, due to suspicious login attempts from an unfamiliar location. Be sure to add a secondary backup authentication method, such as printed backup codes, in case your phone cannot receive text codes while traveling.
- Ensure your antivirus and anti-malware software is up-to-date. NC State offers free antivirus software and provides details on approved alternate antivirus products. Keeping antivirus protection current adds an important layer of protection against infections and hacking.
- Make any needed security patches and software updates. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in outdated programs to infect your devices; therefore, performing consistent and timely updates is an added barrier against intrusion.
- Keep your passwords strong. Update your password, prior to travel and upon returning, following the NC StatePassword Standard. Unique passwords or passphrases with a mix of numbers, letters and special characters that are easy for you to remember and hard for others to guess are a first line of defense for all your accounts and devices.
Connect to secured, password-protected networks. It is tempting, when traveling, to join any open wifi or Internet network you encounter, since you may not know when another network will be available. However, unsecured networks can allow hackers easy access to your communications and data. Try only to access known networks, such as cellular or other secured networks. If you must connect to an unsecured network, make the connection as brief as possible, do not transmit sensitive data (such as banking or credit card information), and log off the connection as soon as you are done.
If you suspect your account or device has been compromised while traveling, contact the NC State Help Desk firstname.lastname@example.org or 919.515.4357 (HELP). The Help Desk is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception of university holidays.