Last Update: 5/4/2017
The International Travel Security Problem
Many of us travel internationally but few realize how important computer security can be when we visit other countries. People doing business in countries like China and Russia (or any other country for that matter) need to pay strict attention to their technology security protocols to prevent the real and growing threat of high tech espionage. There have been instances of people returning from abroad and having their laptops or smartphones compromised. A mobile device used internationally and later hooked up to the Company’s network provides an excellent infection vector. The folks intent on stealing information could be government or corporate based.
Learn how to use your iPhone or Android Smartphone in China
How to Protect Yourself When Traveling
Some people might find the following list a bit paranoid, but you never can be too safe. People that work for major corporations, government, or security firms need maximum protection from attackers. There are tools that can detect the location of a mobile device to within 100 feet and can target phones by the phone number, IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number and intercept all communications from the mobile device.
- Leave your cell phone and laptop at home
- Buy a phone and SIM card in the other country
- Beware of any SMS message especially if they have links
- Do not bring any sensitive data or passwords
- Use temporary or loaner cell phones and laptops which will be erased when you get home
- Make sure all gadgets are fully up to date and have security software enabled. The best encryption should be utilized
- Never let your electronics out of your site
- If your device gets inspected at the border, it should never be connected to the Company’s network again
- Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
- Avoid public Wi-Fi altogether
- Do not use a public phone charging cable, it could be capturing video while you charge
- Disable microphones and cameras
- During meetings, turn off your devices and remove their batteries. (Prevents possible recording)
- Use a VPN with heavy encryption to connect to the Internet
- Use Google Voice to create a “throw away” voice accounts
- Do not connect to your Company’s or government’s network while abroad
- Use coded language when discussing sensitive matters
- Cut and paste passwords to prevent keylogging
- Change any and all passwords you used on the trip, immediately
- Enable two factor authentication for services that support this; Facebook, Gmail, eBay, etc.
- Two factor authentication system using SMS text messages is not secure, due to the weak SS7 routing system. We suggest only using two factor when you can use a token or a time based authenticator like Googles.
Following the safeguards listed above will help prevent hack attacks against yourself and your Company. The measures may sound extreme, but the danger is real.