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Ten Electronic Devices Security Tips When Traveling Abroad

Information has become easier to steal over the Internet because employees can carry proprietary data around.Cyber Warefare – Safeguard Your Electronic Devices.

When employees travel abroad here are ten electronic devices security tips I pulled from  a recent New York Times article, “Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery” by Nicole Perlroth. Nicole discusses electronic devices security policies and practices of the State Department, Google, Bookings Institution, and McAfee executives when traveling to China and Russia.

However, because Cyber Warfare has no geographical boundaries I suggest these electronic devices security tips be used whenever anyone travels anywhere overseas; or, depending on the circumstance, travel anywhere.

Ten Electronic Devices Security Tips When Traveling Abroad

  1. Leave personal cell phones and laptops at home.
  2. Bring a burn phone (prepaid, disposable cell phone) and a loaner laptop dedicated for travel only.
  3. Erase the EEPROM, Flash and hard drive memory of both devices before leaving the country and immediately after returning. As a personal side note, never plug this laptop into any network before first wiping it and use a very good wipe program.
  4. Disable all Bluetooth and Wi-Fi functionality from all devices. This includes ear pieces.
  5. Never let your phone or laptop out of your site.
  6. In meetings, don’t just turn off your phone but also remove the battery. It is possible that the microphone can be turned on remotely. So, be sure you have a phone that you can get to the battery. An iPhone is not a good choice when traveling.
  7. Connect to the internet through secure, encrypted channels.
  8. Use a password manager so you don’t have to remember or type them.  I recommend a smartcard password manager over a USB thumb drive because of the added security smartcards offers.
  9. If customs or any outsider has touched or turned on your computer, do not plug it into the company network without first scrubbing it.
  10. Your company needs to have an electronic device security travel policy, employee re-training before every trip, and all devices returned to IT before the employee is allowed back into the building.

Cyber attackers are clever in hiding what they do, but the number one behavior they rely on is employee carelessness. Scott Aken, a former F.B.I. agent who specialized in counterintelligence and computer intrusion made a great summation, “We’ve already lost our manufacturing base. Now we’re losing our R.& D. base. If we lose that, what do we fall back on?”