DUSON Top Ten Data Security Traveling Tips

By | June 9, 2021

June 14, 2021

In retrospect, it becomes clear that hindsight is overrated.

Compared to last summer, it looks like it will be a busy travel season.  Even though we still aren’t out of the woods, traveling is becoming easier these days.  Many of us will be taking some time away from DUSON for a well-deserved break.  Here are some tips to stay connected and keep your data safe while you’re away.

But first, here’s our Tech Tip of the Week

No need to use your favorite virtual Zoom background if you’re sitting by the pool in Maui.  Just think carefully about the WiFi you are using.

If you decide to use a public WiFi (hotel, restaurant, gym, etc.) for Zoom, the chance of having the bandwidth you need for a good experience is pretty slim.  Even if you can see and hear the other participants okay, they may have a problem hearing and seeing you.

Try one of these options:

  1. Zoom works great on a mobile phone if your signal is strong.  Try connecting using the same link on your iPhone or Android.
  2. Need to use your workstation?  If your phone plan offers a mobile hotspot, connect your PC to your mobile hotspot. It works surprisingly well.
  3. Final option – Phone it in on a land line for audio only.  The main Zoom number for calling in to meetings is (301) 715-8592 and most of your Duke meetings will allow use of this number.  Once connected, just enter the meeting number.

DUSON Top 10 tips for keeping your data safe while traveling …

Cyber-criminals continue to find creative ways to get your data.  Don’t make it easy for them.  Here are ten tips to protect your data and devices while you travel.

  • Protect your devices
    • Keep them with you at all times
    • Don’t draw attention to expensive phones, tablets and laptops
    • Use the hotel safe when you are away from your room.
  • Turn off Bluetooth
    • It’s an easy way for a hacker to get into  your device.  If you don’t need it, turn it off.
  • Update your passwords
    • Consider changing your password before you leave and when you return home.
    • Make sure you password is strong – remember, a longer password (> 12 characters) is safest.
  • Use traveler apps sparingly
    • Yeah, they can be fun tools, but downloading unknown apps can be a deceptive way for hackers to know your itinerary and get your data.
  • Update your device
    • Before leaving, check for and install updates on all devices.
  • Backup
    • Make sure your device backup is current.
    • If you have a good backup, you’ll have an easier recovery if your phone is stolen or wiped.
  • Leave your Duke data on the cloud
    • What?  You’re actually going to work while on vacation?  Please don’t put Duke data on your mobile device.  That includes laptops, tablets and phones.
    • Use Box, OneDrive and your DUSON shared drives for all of your Duke data.
  • Avoid public computers
    • It can be convenient, but it’s definitely not secure.
    • Do not perform financial transactions, including shopping, on public computers.
  • Keep your devices locked
    • Make sure your device is locked when you aren’t using it.
    • Use the automatic locking features and choose a short period of inactivity.
  • ** Use public Wi-Fi carefully **

    • Make sure you connect to correct, safe Wi-Fi in hotels or airports.
      • RDUAirportFree and HiltonHotelsFree look real, but are more than likely “evil twin” Wi-Fi access points set up by criminals to monitor and acquire your data.
    • Most hotel and airport Wi-Fi networks will require some sort of password or acknowledgement before you can use them.
    • Never select the “connect automatically” option for public Wi-Fi networks. 
      • Let’s say you connected to the free WiFi at McDonand’s named McDonaldsFree.  Cyber-criminals can set up an evil twin Wi-Fi with the same name in unexpected places.  If you selected the “connect automatically” option the first time you joined McDonaldsFree, your device will connect to any WiFi named McDonaldsFree it finds, usually without your knowledge.

Extra Credit

So you’re already practicing all of our safe-computing tips while traveling?  Here are two advanced tips to get you to the next level of cybersecurity.

  • Use Multi-factor Authentication on all resources
    • Most applications and websites now have the option of using two forms of authentication.  We get that it’s a pain, but it’s one of the most effective ways to keep your data safe.
  • Use a Personal VPN
    • Using a personal VPN provides an encrypted connection between your device and your destination website.  This is a critical component of travel cybersecurity, particularly when using hotel, airport or other public Wi-Fi networks.  Select one that works on all of your devices.

Missing Our Campus?

This week’s Duke Photo of the Week is the Languages Building on Duke’s West Campus.

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