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Security Tips For Traveling Abroad

Attention Travelers: New Hotel Internet Scam

Beware of a new scam that installs malware on computers trying to connect to hotel Internet.  Learn more.

Before You Go

  • Change the password for your BC account and any Internet services you use such as Gmail, Facebook, or Picasa.
  • Backup your computer. See bc.edu/backup for options and instructions.
  • If you are bringing a laptop with you, check the computer manufacturer’s website for repair information in the country to which you're traveling. Print and bring this information with you in case you experience any hardware problems abroad. See bc.edu/techabroad for information about computers sold through BC.
  • If you are bringing a laptop with you, make sure you have the proper plug adapter. Modern laptops have "switching" power supplies that can use both standard AC and DC current in most countries, but wall outlets outside the United States are often a different style and require you to use an adapter.
  • If you are bringing private data, not on a computer, copy the data onto an encrypted USB memory device. If the device is lost or stolen, your data is inaccessible.
  • Update all software immediately before travel.  (If updates are necessary while abroad, download the updates directly from the software vendor’s website).

While You Are Traveling

  • Be aware that government security agencies in some countries may log your Internet activity without informing you they are doing so.
  • Be aware that in some countries it is common practice for the government or businesses to copy data from your computer without your knowledge or consent. If you have sensitive intellectual property that might have research or commercial value, avoid bringing it into these countries. Also, do not copy sensitive information onto a computer that has visited such a country and has not been examined by a security expert upon your return to the U.S. Visit http://travel.state.gov for travel advisories for specific countries.
  • Be cautious when clicking on update pop-ups, especially while using untrusted hotel Internet connections.  Some pop-ups are actually scams designed to trick people into installing malicious software.  Update your software by going directly to the vendor’s website to avoid this type of scam.
  • Assume that any computer you use other than your own, including those of friends you are staying with, at cyber-cafes, and in libraries, is insecure. As when using any shared computer, don't enter sensitive information such as passwords, bank account numbers, or credit cards numbers.
For Advanced Users: If you need to do online banking, shop, or manipulate sensitive data using someone else's computer, consider creating a bootable CD-ROM, such as Knoppix, and bringing it with you for this purpose. By starting the shared computer from your disk, you will ensure that no malicious software is running on the computer and your data is secure.
  • As in the U.S., anything you send over the Internet from a public access point may be intercepted and logged by unknown parties. To avoid compromising sensitive data when using public Internet access, only enter confidential information on secure web pages. Secure web pages have addresses beginning with https.
  • If you believe your BC password has been compromised, you can reset it yourself on BCInfo within the “Account and Personal Info” section of the “My Services” tab. If you need additional help, contact the BC Help Center at 617-552-4357.

When You Return

  • When you return to the U.S., you should reset your passwords. If passwords were compromised while you were abroad, changing them upon your return will render the stolen ones useless.

Members of the BC community are encouraged to contact the security team at security@bc.edu with any questions they have about the information on this page.