Stop Theft laptop label

Summer travel in your plans? Keep your devices and data secure

Summer is when many people make plans to go out of the state or the country. We want you to enjoy your get away as much as you can, so we have designed this checklist to remind you of everything you should be aware of before traveling to avoid hassles.

Keep an eye open on your electronics

Whether you’re in a familiar place or a new one, do not leave your laptop, phone, or any other device unattended in public; it only takes seconds for opportunistic thieves to grab your belongings and disappear.

Even if you are with your things, when sitting in public do not leave your bag or purse hanging from the back of your chair or by your feet, and keep zippers and all pockets closed.

For those big trips where you’re checking luggage, never store your valuables and electronics in anything you’re not carrying with you; every year hundreds of baggage handlers are caught stealing expensive items from travelers’ luggage.

Employ strong passwords

Make sure you have a strong passcode on your phone, tablet and laptop, to serve as barriers should something be stolen.

A strong passcode contains more than four digits; a strong laptop password is at least eight characters long, contains upper and lower case letters, and numbers and/or special characters. This does make them hard to remember, but it is more effective and you can always use a password manager.

Do not keep passcodes or passwords on a piece of paper (or anything else) that you carry with you.

dual-security

Keep your data safe

If you are traveling for business and have sensitive or personally identifiable data (Pii) stored on your Northeastern laptop, please contact the Office of Information Security at ois@neu.edu before you leave. Laws and regulations govern how to store sensitive data on mobile devices while traveling, and the data or laptop may need to be encrypted to ensure its protection and compliance. For more information on Pii, see the Appropriate Use Policy.

It’s also a good idea to back up your mobile data before you go on a trip. External backup drives are inexpensive, can also be encrypted for added protection if they are ever stolen, and provide an easy, worry-free solution to keep your data safe. Make sure to store your backup drive in a safe place.

Register your laptop with NUPD

Northeastern University Police Department will register your laptop free of charge. A small Stop Theft plate will be securely attached to your laptop. To set up an appointment to register, please contact Crime Prevention Coordinator, Officer John Farrell, at 617.373.5402, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.

eduroam international mapUse eduroam for easy worldwide wireless access

Northeastern participates in a reciprocal wireless system, called eduroam, which enables Northeastern students, faculty, and staff to securely access the eduroam wireless network off-campus at more than 5,000 participating locations worldwide. A full list of participating US Institutions is available on the eduroam website. An international map is also available (this may take a while to load). Since eduroam was initially developed and launched in Europe, this continent boasts the most locations with thousands of participating colleges, universities and research facilities.

It is easy to connect to eduroam – you simply need to enter your eduroam username [myNEU username]@northeastern.edu (e.g., kinghusky@northeastern.edu) and your myNEU password. Similar to NUwave, once you have entered and saved your login credentials on your device, you will be able to automatically connect to the eduroam network whenever it is available. More information can be found on the eduroam service page.

Make free and public wireless secure

Free and public wireless networks often have little or no security features, as these networks are not protected by enterprise encryption. This means that the bad guys may be able to eavesdrop on or “sniff” your web browsing data, and read your usernames and passwords.

To protect yourself and your information, whenever possible, connect to a virtual private network (VPN) before logging into any website when using a free or public Wi-Fi network.

Northeastern offers the Global Protect VPN to connect securely to Northeastern resources, such as intranet websites, the shared Q: drive, and remote desktop connections. However, that VPN does not protect you when visiting non-Northeastern resources, such as your bank or Gmail. For full security on other networks, consider using a third party VPN service to secure all your wireless connections.

Limit access to your data remotely

In the event your phone is lost or stolen, the best option is to erase all the data from it to prevent anyone else from accessing your information – and you can do it remotely. Here’s how:

Don’t let the social media world know you’re gone

Posting your travel plans on open forms of social media lets people know when you will be away from your home or apartment, and criminals could use this opportunity to steal your belongings. Be careful about how many people are aware of your travel plans. Do you really know and trust all followers that you have on social media? In this case, using #latergram is safer.

Different countries, different rules

And finally, if you are traveling internationally, keep in mind that each country has different laws and practices. Here are some tips for safe international travel at SecureNU.

 

Summer travel in your plans? We’ve got some tips and reminders

Summer is when many people make plans to attend professional conferences, visit the Cape, go out of the country, or decide on an urban adventure. We want to remind you of some things you should keep in mind, and remember to do when traveling this summer.

Can’t Believe Those Deals

As you’re considering places to go, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of discount travel clubs and websites, vacation packages, and “going out of business” deals. These days, it’s incredibly easy to check the web for reviews on a particular company or deal to see whether it is legitimate, and if the service and price is as advertised. Tip: search keywords about the deal with the words “review,” “scam,” or “complaint.”

Keep Your Electronics & Data Safe

Whether you’re in a familiar place or a new one, do not leave your laptop, phone, or bag unattended in public; it only takes seconds for opportunistic thieves to grab your belongings and disappear. Even if you’re with your things, when sitting in public do not leave your bag or purse hanging from the back of your chair or by your feet, and keep your bag or purse zipped with all pockets closed.

For those big trips where you’re checking luggage, never store your valuables, electronics, or medications in anything you’re not carrying with you; every year hundreds of baggage handlers are caught stealing expensive items from travelers’ luggage.

Now is also a good time to make sure you have a strong passcode on your phone or tablet, along with a strong password on your laptop, to serve as barriers should something be stolen. A strong passcode contains more than four digits; a strong laptop password is at least eight characters long, contains upper and lower case letters, and numbers or special characters – this does make them complicated and hard to remember, but it is more effective and you can always use a password manager, such as the ones recommended in this article. And do not keep passcodes or passwords on a piece of paper (or anything else) that you carry with you.

dual-security

If you are traveling for business and have sensitive or personally identifiable data (PII) stored on your Northeastern laptop, please contact the Office of Information Security at ois@neu.edu before you leave. Laws and regulations govern how to store sensitive data on mobile devices while traveling, and the data or laptop may need to be encrypted to ensure its protection and compliance. For more information on PII, see the Appropriate Use Policy.

And even if nothing is nothing is stolen, there is always the chance that something will be lost. So it’s also a good idea to back up your mobile data before you go on a trip. External backup drives are inexpensive, and can also be encrypted for protection if they are ever stolen, and provide an easy and worry free solution to keep your data safe. Make sure to store your backup drive in a safe place.

A final tip: If you don’t need your electronic devices or valuables, leave them at home. You can’t lose what you don’t have.

Register Your Laptop with NUPD

Northeastern University Police Department will register your laptop free of charge. A small Stop Theft plate will be securely attached to your laptop, and the chances you’ll get it back if it’s stolen go up – just last month, NUPD posted about how they were able to reunite a registered laptop with its student owner.

To set up an appointment to register, please contact Crime Prevention Coordinator Off. John Farrell at 617.373.5402, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

You Have to Make Free and Public Wi-Fi Secure

Free and public wi-fi networks often have little or no security features, unlike NUwave, which is protected by enterprise encryption. What does this really mean to you? Third parties may be able to eavesdrop on or “sniff” your web browsing data, and read your usernames and passwords.

To protect yourself and your information, whenever possible, connect to a virtual private network (VPN) before logging into any website when using a free or public wi-fi network.

Northeastern offers the GlobalProtect VPN to connect securely to Northeastern resources, such as intranet websites, the shared Q:\ drive, and remote desktop connections. Learn more about the VPN and what Northeastern resources you can’t get to without it, and also how to use it.

globalprotect vpn graphic - itsweb

However, that VPN does not protect you when visiting non-Northeastern resources, such as your bank or Gmail – for full security on other networks, consider using a third party VPN service (such as those recommended in this article) to secure all your wireless connections.

Don’t Let the Social Media World Know You’re Gone

Posting your travel plans on open forms of social media lets people know when you will be away from your home or apartment, and criminals could use this opportunity to steal your belongings. Be careful about how many people are aware of your travel plans. Do you really know and trust all the friends or followers that you have on social media? In this case using #latergram may make the most sense.

Faculty/Staff – Do Set Your Out of Office

Whether you’re going on vacation and won’t be checking email, or are going to be traveling for work and you won’t be able to keep up with your smartphone, it’s always a good idea to set an automatic reply on your email. How long are you gone? How often will you be checking (if at all)? Who can they contact in the meantime?

Win-OOO

  • Outlook Web App – Settings gear icon > Automatic replies
  • Outlook for Windows – File > Automatic replies (Out of Office)
  • Outlook for Mac – Tools > Out of Office

Different Countries, Different Rules

And finally, if you are traveling internationally, keep in mind that each country has different laws and practices. Here are some tips for safe international travel at SecureNU.