Data Security Guidelines for International Travel

1. Use encryption settings on all devices. 

2. Back up remotely to an encrypted system that you trust before you travel, both to and from your destination.  

3. Only take the limited applications/files required to fulfill your needs abroad. Where possible, password-encrypt your files and documents. If possible, use loaner equipment instead of your everyday use devices (contact the CUIT Service Desk to request loaner equipment).

4. Set a new password that you do not use anywhere else for all of the devices that you are traveling with.

5. For mobile devices, set your device to factory reset after 5 incorrect password entries.

6. If you are asked to hand over your device and refuse, you may be detained and/or your device may be confiscated. If you have a loaner device, you may hand it over at no penalty to you if you do not receive it back. Request documentation for any seized equipment. 

7. If your device is returned after inspection, change the password.

8. If you are required to handover your password, change your password immediately after the equipment is returned

9. Unless using biometric login methods, if you log in at the airport, change your password immediately after leaving the international airport, regardless of whether you believe yourself to have been seen entering it. 

10. LionMail users: If traveling to China or another country where VPN technologies and Google are not allowed, make sure to have an appropriate application (such as Outlook or Apple Mail) configured to connect with LionMail.

11. Never use general terminals, kiosks, or random WIFI networks.

12. If you're a Faculty or Administrator traveling on behalf of Columbia to one of the following jurisdictions, please contact your local IT if you need a loaner device:

  • China
  • Cuba
  • Hong Kong
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • North Korea
  • Russia
  • South Africa
  • Turkey
  • Venezuela

If you believe that your business would be of interest to a foreign government, feel free to check with [email protected] before traveling to confirm the safety of your internet traffic.

If you arrive with an infected computer, or if it becomes infected after you're at Columbia, you may lose access to the Internet until your computer has been cleaned. 

This can take hours, endanger your personal documents, and require you to reformat your hard drive and reinstall your operating system and all your applications from scratch. Although CUIT is here to help you should it be necessary, it's up to you to take the necessary precautions to secure your computer.

Precautions to Take: