Safe Travels: Tips to secure your tech

For many members of the Pack, the end of the spring semester means travel is on the horizon. To keep your technology safe and your data private while away from home, it’s important to plan ahead and stay vigilant.

According to a survey from All About Cookies, more than one-third of international travelers have had a smart device lost or stolen while traveling abroad.

No matter the destination, consider these tips as you prepare for your next trip:

Before You Leave

  • Be sure to protect every device with a strong password or passphrase. If you aren’t using passphrases, see Use passphrases to fend off cybercriminals to learn why they are a smart choice.
  • In addition to using passphrases, enable two-factor authentication on your devices in case your credentials are compromised.
  • Install updates to your devices’ operating systems, antivirus software and apps. These updates protect against bugs and vulnerabilities.
  • Back up your devices to ensure you can recover your data if a device goes missing.
  • Do you really need a phone, laptop and tablet? Limit the number of devices you bring. The more devices you pack, the more likely they are to be lost or stolen.

While Traveling

  • Use caution with public Wi-Fi. Although convenient, using public Wi-Fi in airports, hotels and restaurants puts your information at risk. Activities such as online shopping and banking are especially risky.
  • If you do connect to public Wi-Fi, always use a virtual private network (VPN) to keep your connection secure. For university business, faculty and staff should use the NC State VPN. See Connect with the NC State VPN for instructions.
  • Turn off bluetooth when not in use to avoid accidentally connecting to or sharing data with unknown devices.
  • While public USB charging stations may be a welcome sight when your battery is low, only charge devices using an AC power outlet. Cybercriminals can use USB ports to install malware on your devices or access your data. Learn more from the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Never let a stranger borrow your phone. Criminals can take advantage of your kindness by stealing money or data from your devices or even locking you out of your accounts.

In Case of Loss or Theft

  • Enable device-finding functionality on your devices to help find them if lost or stolen. You can even delete data remotely to keep it out of the wrong hands. Learn how to manage these settings for Android devices or Apple devices.
  • Report any lost or stolen university-owned devices to your campus IT immediately.

For more information about keeping your devices and data safe while traveling, see the following resources:

If you have questions or need assistance, contact the NC State Help Desk via the NC State IT Service Portal or call 919.515.HELP (4357).