Travel Securely and Safely!

Esther Silver's picture

For many of us, having a cell phone or other electronic device is an integral part of daily life, whether at home or on the road. In addition, traveling today is so much easier with technology; you can stay productive, entertained, and in touch.

Unfortunately, traveling with devices can mean increased cyber risks for keeping your personal and UCSF information private, as well as increased potential for device theft.

Stay safe while traveling:
A good rule of thumb when traveling is to assume your devices will be lost, stolen, compromised, or even confiscated at an international border at some point during your trip, and plan accordingly. It is also important to remember that anything you do over unsecured Wi-Fi may be able to be seen by others, including your passwords and the contents of your messages. With all this in mind:

  • Make sure you are able to connect to the Internet securely while you’re away.  Use VPN with Duo when doing UCSF business. It will provide an additional layer of authentication and ensure all web access goes through UCSF, preventing any 3rd party from intercepting traffic at your location.
  • Do not proceed if you get a bad certificate warning.
  • Encrypt your devices, whether they are UCSF or personal property.
  • Only bring what you’re willing to lose – both stored information and the devices themselves, even if they are encrypted.  Make sure your devices or data are fully backed up before you leave.
  • If you’re traveling for UCSF business, research, or as an international student or scholar, work with the UCSF IT Service Desk to make sure you’re taking a clean machine or an appropriate loaner device and that you have the tools you need to connect to the Internet securely.
  • When traveling on UCSF business, register your trip for free traveler insurance coverage.
  • Immediately report lost or stolen devices used for any UCSF business to the IT Service Desk by calling 415-514-4100

Special notes for international travelers:

  • There are special rules for bringing electronic equipment, research, intellectual property, and encryption technology abroad. Consult with UCSF Export Control Officer Joan Doherty 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 not able to use encryption software at your destination, contact UCSF IT Service Desk for guidance.

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One person will also be selected for the grand prize: a PacSafe.Com secure backpack

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