Using IT when travelling
Working or studying at UiO sometimes means travelling. On these travels, you should take some precautions, both concerning physical safety, but also when it comes to using IT tools and equipment. These precautions are important, to make sure that information is not lost or compromised.
Photo: Jacqueline Macou (Pixabay)
This document talks about using IT equipment. For advice on physical safety, see travel information at sikresiden.no.
1. General rules and advice
1.1. Bring only what you really need
Bring only the equipment that serves the actual purpose of the journey. Make sure it does not contain data or files that are not relevant.
1.2. Laptops must be encrypted
Portable computers must have an encrypted harddrive. Many of the laptops maintained by UiO and USIT have this. You must make sure that the one you plan to use, actually has this. Contact your local IT support if you need help with this.
1.3. Portable storage should stay at home
Smaller USB-units for storage (drives and memory sticks) should in general not be brought with you, unless you have particular reasons for doing so. If you really need to bring them, they should be encrypted, with a good password.
1.4. Mobile phones and tablets need attention
Make sure that your mobile phone and tablet is using a good password or a good pattern that must be verified before it can be used. Do not connect the unit to unknown chargers or computers. If the unit is not registered with the university's central register, and as such maintained by USIT, choose reading e-mail on your laptop instead of using your mobile phone or tablet.
1.5. Get help
Contact your local IT department if you need help preparing your computer, mobile phone or tablet before travelling abroad.
2. Special considerations for high risk countries
When planning a journey to so called high risk countries, you will need to take extra precautions. Your regular IT equipment (laptop, mobile phone, tablet and so on) should in general not join you on such travels. Which countries this applies to will vary over time. Pay heed to the current media reports and advice from the Norwegian Foreign Office.
Contact UiO-CERT if you need a security briefing when planning a trip to a high risk country.
2.1. Check list for travels to high risk countries
If you need to bring IT equipment – follow this checklist.
- All data and all files that are not necessary for the purpose of the journey, needs to be removed from the equipment before you leave. It may be convenient to bring a dedicated laptop meant for such travels, as an alternative to using a lot of time to clean up and remove files from the one you normally use. Computers used on travels should be configured as a standard «UiO laptop» with windows 10, or a freshly installed Mac. These computers needs to be maintained and managed by the standard USIT management scheme. Reach out to your local IT department. They can help you reinstall the computer before you leave, to make sure it is empty.
- Consider bringing a dedicated mobile phone that is not a smartphone, and is unable to run apps. Use it only for calling and sending SMS. Remember that in some countries, you can not be certain that what you say or transmit cannot be heard or read by others.
- The password for your UiO user account is to be changed when you return to Norway. You need to do this right after you return to work, or as soon as you can.
- IT equipment needs to be reinstalled or erased upon return. Your local IT department can help you with this.
- Equipment that is left in hotel rooms or the like, needs to be completely turned off. Closing the lid and leaving it in sleep mode, power save mode or standby mode it not sufficient.
Units or departments at UiO whose students or employees travel a lot are advised to keep a small stack of equipment (laptops and cellphones) available for lending. Those units who have acquired such equipment need to notify this to UiO-CERT.
3. Other notes
3.1. On using VPN
In some countries, VPN may be banned or illegal, and using it may cause penalty or legal action from the authorities. If you need to connect to the IT resources at UiO from abroad, consult «From home and away».
3.2. On entry and exit
Pay heed to the fact that the airport personnel in some countries have wide authorities. They can, for example, deny entry into their country unless you physically log in to, and give them access to, your laptop, your social media accounts or your cellphone.