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    Aug 4th, 2022

IT Security Guidance for Domestic and International Travel

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There are information and information technology risks when traveling.

The following general guidance is provided for all types of travel, including specific recommendations for domestic and international travelers. It is intended to help mitigate the risks to your information, university data and IT assets.

Travelers are responsible for the security of their data and devices, and for mitigating any risks. The appropriate controls should be implemented to maintain compliance with all applicable laws, policies and contracts, including but not limited to FERPA, HIPAA, university policies, data use agreements, security plans, etc.

Where to go for additional information

  • For general information on UMass related International Travel, see the International Program Office.
  • Guidance on using WiFi networks while traveling
  • If you will be working with University data or regulated data during your travel, please contact your Risk Management/Information Security representative for additional guidance at
  • If you have specific questions or concerns about International Travel, refer to the U.S. State Department and/or University Legal Counsel for guidance.
  • If you have questions about the application of export controls to your travel, please contact the Office of Research Compliance at (413) 545-5283 or visit the Export Control website.
  • Export Control Compliance
    • It is the responsibility of all campus community members to be familiar with and adhere to U.S. export controls. Export controls are laws and regulations that regulate and restrict the release of controlled items, such as critical technologies and equipment, technical data, software, and chemical and biological materials, and information and services to foreign nationals and foreign countries for reasons of national security and foreign policy. Export controls apply to all activities Ð not just sponsored research projects. If you have questions about the application of export controls to your travel, please contact the Office of Research Compliance at (413) 545-5283 or visit the Export Control website.



General IT Guidance for travelers

Before You Travel

All Travelers (Domestic and International)
  • If you don't need it, don't travel with it.
    • Bring only the devices (incl. Laptops, smartphones, removable storage, etc.) you need and minimize the amount of data you carry on your devices. Loaner computers may also be available; consult your technical support staff to see if this is an option.
    • Only take information that you need. If you must take any information, be sure to back it up and leave the backed-up data here.
    • Make sure sensitive information is not saved on your device. (This includes but is not limited to: account numbers, social security numbers, health records, human subject information, and/or other protected information.)
    • Clear your web browsing history and similar stored information.
    • If you need access to University data while traveling, consider storing your documents on a University-provided, cloud storage folder that can be accessed remotely, such as OneDrive ( This protects the data from loss and theft of devices and provides cloud-based backup if your devices get damaged, corrupted, or simply "crash."
  • Confirm that your device operating system and installed software are up to date.
    • Consult your technical support staff to review options for device encryption. Some foreign countries restrict the use of imported encryption, please research the laws of your destination country.
  • Download and set up device managers
International Travelers
  • Use an alternate login/email account
    • Log in to a limited alternate/subsidiary account to access IT services and university data (like email and OneDrive) during your trip. Using an alternate account that has limited access to campus information can limit your exposure in the unlikely event of an account compromise.
  • If your data is needed while traveling, store your data on a university-provided, cloud storage folder that can be accessed remotely (such as OneDrive) from your alternate login account.
  • Use a loaner laptop

Device Configuration Best Practices

  • Only necessary software applications should be installed and used.
    • Download software and applications from trusted sources.
    • If it is believed that access is needed to configure your device on the go, such as installing additional software or making minor configuration changes, be sure to check with your IT representative for appropriate options
  • Ensure strong passwords are configured on devices to help protect them.
  • Enable two-step (multi-factor) authentication on your UMass accounts
  • Ensure devices and the data are encrypted.


While You Are Traveling

All Travelers (Domestic and International)
  • Do not leave devices unattended or unsecured
    • Do not use untrusted portable drives or other untrusted accessories
  • Use Secure Internet Connections
    • Connect only to trusted wireless networks
      • Uncheck "auto-join" and be sure to "forget" or log out of networks you aren't using. Consider connecting to the Internet through your phone or personal Wi-Fi hotspot.
    • Disable your device's wireless connection and power off when not in use
    • Use the UMass Amherst VPN service when connecting to authorized UMass resources
  • Report an IT Security Incident to if your device is lost, stolen, or you suspect it may have been hacked or compromised.
  • Sign out of your laptop and laptop programs (including email, file storage, social media accounts) prior to passing through a security checkpoint and when you are finished using them.


When You Return

All Travelers (Domestic and International)
  • Be aware of any unusual behavior on your devices
    • Tip: Review any notifications from security software on your device
  • If you think your device may be compromised, change your passwords and contact IT support.
  • Reset any e-mail automatic replies or voicemail greetings
    • If you previously set an "Out of Office" automatic reply, remember to disable it once you're regularly checking e-mail again.
    • If you previously set an "alternative greeting" on your voicemail box, remember to disable it or switch to your default greeting once you're regularly checking voicemail again.
  • Perform a full virus-scan of your computer
    • Upon your return, perform a full virus-scan of your computer, particularly before exporting any data from your laptop.
International Travelers
  • Devices, such as computers, tablets, and cell phones, should be wiped upon return from travel.
  • Reset Credentials: Change passwords for all accounts used during the trip. If a subsidiary account was issued for the purpose of the trip, this account should be deactivated.



Other Considerations:

  • If necessary, review remote access options with Information Technology Services.
  • Have a legitimate UMass business use for your data.