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Travel Security

This article applies to: Security & Policy

Before traveling, take inventory of your data:

  • Parse out those things you must have while traveling. Any confidential data must be encrypted.
  • Consider moving data you don't need to another location temporarily.
  • Make sure you have configured Two-Step Login.  Learn more about international travel and Two-Step Login.

Secure your computer and devices in addition to taking the following precautions.

Bring along a laptop without all your data on it

If feasible, bring along a laptop that doesn’t have all your data on it. Contact your department’s technical support staff to find out if they keep spare laptops on hand for this purpose.

Back up your data before you leave

If you lose the computer, or it is stolen, having a backup will make it possible for the data to be recovered. It will also make it possible for your technical support staff to determine what, if any, sensitive data may be at risk.

Consider encrypting the entire hard disk

Confidential data must be encrypted if you travel with it. However, if you travel with your computer, it’s a very good idea to encrypt the entire hard disk. Doing so will protect everything on your computer if it is lost or stolen--you won't have to worry about what was or wasn't encrypted.

Contact your department’s technical support staff to find out what encryption solutions are used in your department.

Connect to campus with Cornell VPN

Open wired or wireless networks at hotels, airports, and other public places put your data at risk, because strangers can watch what you send over the network.

Use Cornell's Virtual Private Network (VPN) when working with sensitive Cornell data to ensure that everything you send to Cornell is encrypted as it goes over the network. VPN protects your data from electronic eavesdropping.

Some department and central resources require VPN use when connecting from off campus.

Is a quick email check safe? Time isn’t a factor – you only need to type your Cornell password, credit card number, or other information once on a compromised computer for it to be stolen.

Beware of insecure networks

There is no way to know how safely public networks have been configured or who is using them.

VPN only protects your connections back to campus, so if you are connecting to non-Cornell sites, like your bank or credit card company, treat wireless connections in Internet cafes, hotels, airport lounges, conference facilities, and other public places with extreme caution. 

Keep your laptop with you as much as possible.

  • When flying, store your laptop in a carryon bag. Don’t check it with your luggage.
  • If you leave your laptop at the hotel, lock it in a safe.
  • Don’t leave your laptop in your car.
  • When in a public environment, always keep your laptop with you.
  • Travel with a laptop security cable to lock your laptop to a table or chair when you are using it in a public space.

About this Article

Last updated: 

Monday, April 23, 2018 - 3:31pm

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