ITSS

Travel Advice for International Travelers - Information Technology

International travel, including US destinations, has unique risks compared to domestic travel. We highly encourage you to read IT Travel Advice for International Travelers‌ especially if you are travelling to a location known to have an active cybercriminal community or where you may be subject to surveillance. The difference in legal statutes between nations and the process of crossing international borders can frequently render typical security controls we use to protect sensitive data unworkable.

Laptops, tablets, e-book readers, smart phones and even regular cell phones may be successfully attacked and compromised via malware or automated attack tools. Commercially available security software, even when completely up to date, may not prevent such compromise. In general, always maintain the most recent version of all operating system and application patches on your devices. Keep your endpoint security tools such as antivirus and firewalls enabled and up to date.

Quick points:

  • Avoid free USB charging stations as they may be utilized to access information on your device
  • The use of privacy screens on laptops is encouraged to avoid shoulder-surfing
  • Security patches and antivirus updates may not be readily available during your stay so ensure your device is up to date before you travel
  • The ability to access the Saint Mary’s VPN service may be restricted so don’t rely on it as your only means of accessing information
  • Cover cameras and microphones on laptops to deter unwanted accesses in the event of it being compromised
  • Disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS when not in use to limit potential unauthorized access to your device or data
  • Configure and test VPN access before you travel; instructions can be found under the Employee Services tab of SMUport in the ITSS channel
  • Turn devices off when not in use rather than using hibernate or sleep modes
  • Never access USB devices (thumb drives) from untrusted sources as they may expose your device to malware
  • Do not allow your browser to store usernames and passwords as these can easily be accessed if the device is compromised and regularly clear your browser history during travel
  • Attempts to circumvent national censorship (e.g., with Tor, Ultrasurf or similar products) may be blocked and/or punished if noticed
  • Radio frequency (RF) shielded wallets are encouraged for new style touch-to-pay banking cards as well as RF shields for Canadian passports
  • For more information about enabling security features on portable devices like smartphones and tablets visit http://www.smu.ca/academics/itss-mobile-devices.html
  • Contact the ITSS Help Desk before travelling with cellular devices as they may be able to recommend cost effective travel packages to assist with controlling international data charges