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Travel and Work Remotely - Securely and Safely!

  • Author: Esther Silver

  • Date:

The link to the IT Security Awareness Quiz is at the end of the article. Everyone who completes the quiz is entered to win one of six $50 Amazon gift cards.

As many of us begin to travel again, it is a good idea to assume your devices could be lost, stolen, compromised, or even confiscated at an international border at some point during your trip.  It is important to plan accordingly and to remember that anything you do over unsecured wi-fi networks could be seen by others – this includes your passwords and the contents of your messages. With all of this in mind:

  • When planning your travel on UCSF business, register your trip for free traveler insurance coverage: 
  • Make sure that your devices are properly prepared and maintained during and after your trip:
  • Always physically protect your devices. Never leave a laptop or mobile device unattended in your car or hotel room.
  • Make sure you can connect to the Internet securely while you’re away:
  • Do not proceed to a website if you get a bad certificate warning or if it does not have the lock icon in the address bar. 
  • Do not send any UCSF data to your personal email account. UCSF IT policy prohibits the use of personal email accounts for UCSF business.
  • Bring only what you’re willing to lose – both your stored information and the devices themselves, even if they are encrypted. Make sure your devices or data are fully backed up before you leave.
  • Immediately report any lost or stolen device used for UCSF business to the IT Service Desk by calling 415-514-4100.
  • If you are traveling for pleasure, know that travel scams are on the rise according to the FBI. They have created a list of tips you should follow before you book that discounted hotel room, car rental, or flight reservation.

Special notes for international travelers:

  • There are special rules for bringing electronic equipment, research, intellectual property, and encryption technology abroad. Please consult with UCSF Export Control Officer Brian Warshawsky well in advance of your trip if you are planning to take University equipment, data, or technology outside of the United States.
  • Encryption: Although encryption is recommended to protect sensitive information in case your device is lost, stolen, inspected, or confiscated, some countries restrict the use/importation of encryption software. The USA may also restrict its export. See UC's "International Travel" web page for information, including lists of countries with travel restrictions, and links for additional help.
  • If you are unable to use encryption software at your destination, contact the UCSF IT Service Desk for guidance.

Take the quiz on Safe and Secure Travel and Remote Work. The prize for passing the quiz is an entry in a drawing for one of six $50 Amazon gift cards.

Additional information

UCSF Remote Work Resources

BCH Oakland Remote Work Resources

UCSF: Travel Safely - Laptops and other devices

UCSF: Prepare a Laptop for International Travel

UC: Traveling with Electronic Devices website

U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Inspection of Electronic Devices" fact sheet.

UC ECAS' April 2018 Compliance Alert newsletter (see "International Compliance" on pg. 3)

UCSF Office of Ethics and Compliance Export Control Guidance

UC Global Operations (UCGO) website.

UCGO Technology/Security Guidance

Get Global Access with eduroam

FBI: Safety and Security for the Business Professional Traveling Abroad

StopThinkConnect: Safety Tips for Mobile Devices

Consumer Reports: What You Need to Know About Cyber Safety While Traveling

National Cybersecurity Alliance: Vacation and Travel Security Tips

FCC Cybersecurity Tips for International Travelers

State Department: Travel Safety Information