”TigerTraveling Internationally

world graphic with digital numbers behind

For those traveling internationally for work, research, or vacation, protecting personal and institutional data and mobile devices is critical. Individuals face a variety of threats when traveling, and best practices start long before boarding the plane. Faculty, staff, students, and other travelers, please use this checklist to prepare yourselves — and your technology—for the unique threats of global travel.

Before You Leave

Physical Security

    • Be aware of national data protection laws in your home and destination countries.
    • Know and follow policies for using various devices, institutional data, and institutional resources.
    • Research personal, criminal, and cyber risks in the country or region you’re visiting.
    • Purchase and pack privacy screen filters, portable chargers, and country specific plug adapters.
    • Be aware that border and/or customs officials may search your devices multiple times and copy data therein.
    • Understand that legally confiscated electronic devices may not be returned for months.

Technical Security

    • Consult with your IT support professional about special concerns regarding your technology or your destinations.
    • See if low-cost, loaner devices are available to mitigate the risk of losing more valuable equipment.
    • Ensure your devices have full disk encryption when available and local encryption when not.
    • Verify that your device’s Operating System (OS) software is up to date.
    • Make sure your antivirus program is updated and performing regular scans.
    • Disable FaceTime and GoogleMeet since they can be mechanisms for “zero-click” attacks.
    • Check your cell phone coverage and international data plan options. If you need to access University systems through DUO and your cell phone will not be available, you can purchase a DUO hardware token from the CCIT Support Center as an alternative.
    • Enable your institution’s VPN access. Be aware some countries block VPN. Talk to your IT support for alternatives if needed.
    • Set up institutionally approved, centrally provisioned data storage.
    • Back up all data prior to travel, and take only essential data with you.
    • Create complex passwords, PINS, codes, and screen locks for your device.


While Traveling


    • Regularly restart your devices to help remove implanted malware.
    • Use Clemson’s trusted Virtual Private Network (VPN).
    • Don’t click on suspicious links or suspicious attachments sent via text or email.
    • Enable Apple’s “Lockdown Mode” (for high-risk executives on iPhones).


Upon Returning


    • Review banking and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions.
    • Scan devices for unusual activities with the help of your IT support professional.
    • Provide feedback to your IT support professional on what did and did not work well.
    • Reestablish normal systems and safeguards with the help of your IT support professional.
    • Resume your weekly or monthly data check and back up routines as normal.


Additional Resources




Effective Practice: Cybersecurity for the International Traveler was provided by the The Research and Education Networks Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REN-ISAC) which serves over 620 member institutions within the higher education and research community by promoting cybersecurity operational protections and response.