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Tech Savvy Travel

Denison's ITS Team offers the following advice to students and faculty traveling internationally.  We ask that you note the precautions listed below regarding the risks you face using electronic devices abroad.


Best - Travel With Less Data
Take a new or freshly rebuilt computer and only load the data you will need for your term abroad.  Encrypt the computer and, if possible, travel without USB drives.  

Good - Travel Encrypted
If you must take your regular notebook computer, verify that all software is up to date, that your data is backed up and encrypted, and remove data that is classified.  

Cell Phones

Best - Find One There
Use a phone you won't need to use again.  This might be a loaner you borrow in the country, an unlocked phone with a local SIM card, or a phone you buy or rent at the airport or hotel.

Good - Have a Plan
If you must use your own phone, back it up before you leave and ensure it is updated and secure.  When you return, reset your device to factory defaults and restore from your backup.

Public Wi-Fi

Cellular data can be expensive while traveling. Public wifi may be available in many locations. Remember though that public wifi is not secure. 
Before you leave home, install Denison's Global Protect VPN on your laptop and/or smartphone. Once connected to public wifi, immediately connect to the VPN to encrypt your network traffic.
VPN instructions
See the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) How To Use Public Wi-Fi Networks article to learn more about public wifi safety. 


Precautions when Traveling

  • Don’t plug your phone into charger kiosks, there could be a hostile computer on the other end of that innocent-looking wire. 
  • Watch for those looking over your shoulder or potential thieves.
  • Don’t leave your devices unattended. Hotel safes should not be considered secure.
  • Use a Duo configuration other than phone call or text, such as the Duo mobile app or a U2F token. 

Special Considerations for China

  • Access to services we expect, like Gmail, G Suite, and Wikipedia, are often filtered or blocked. 
  • Skype connections may be monitored by the government.
  • Those using VPNs report that they are often cut off for hours at a time, or blocked.
  • Hotel staff and government officials can access hotel room safes.

When You Return

  • Change your BigRedID password.
  • If you brought your computer, save any documents created while traveling to an external source, and wipe/restore the computer.