Guidelines for All Travelers

Travel exposes your information and devices to new environments and potentially greater risks. The following precautions are for domestic travel; there are further precautions if you are traveling internationally.

For a summary, watch Video: Safe Computing When Traveling.

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Before You Travel

If you don't need it, don't travel with it.
  • Ask your IT department for a loaner laptop or other device. Limit data on the loaner device to that which is essential.
  • Leave behind any devices or media that are not absolutely necessary.
  • Do not save sensitive personal information such as credit card numbers, passport information, or social security numbers on your device.
  • In your web browsers, clear your browsing history and other such stored information that you would not want others to access.
Inventory the data you'll be traveling with in case your device is lost or stolen.
Securely back up data stored on your device(s) or media.
Run a full scan for malware using anti-virus and anti-spyware tools to ensure that the system is clean of detectable malware prior to travel.

While You Are Traveling

Use a secure Internet connection.

When you are away from your familiar environment, it is especially important to Use a Secure Internet Connection. Choose Internet connections with greater security whenever possible:

  • Your cellular carrier's network is your best choice.
  • When using a wireless connection, turn on the U-M VPN, or the one appropriate for your campus.
  • Avoid using free wireless services.
  • Assume that any computer network you use is insecure, including those of friends you are staying with, in business centers, at cyber-cafes, or in libraries.
  • Turn off wireless and Bluetooth when you are not using them.
  • Never enter or access sensitive data when using a shared or public computer.
  • Never accept software updates on hotel Internet connections or other public Wi-Fi. See related FBI advisory.
Always use screen lockout when not using your device and require a password or passcode to unlock it.
Keep your device with you and physically secured.
  • To the extent possible, keep your devices close rather than leaving them behind in hotel rooms; if your hotel has a safe, use it.
  • Be discreet. For example, if possible, do not use an obvious laptop storage bag, as these may make you a more obvious target.
Use your web browser's private browsing or incognito feature. Check your browser's Help for instructions.
Do not plug USB powered devices into public charging stations.

Such stations can transfer malware to your device or download data from it. Instead, use your own charging cable to plug into an electrical outlet.

Do not accept USB thumb drives or other removable media from any source.
Report an IT Security Incident if your device is lost or stolen.

Follow the guidelines from Responding to an IT Security Incident to immediately report stolen or lost items.

  • U-M faculty, staff and researchers traveling abroad are required to immediately (or as soon as feasible) report suspected or actual breaches or compromises of sensitive university data. This includes incidents that involve loss, theft, or breach of personally owned devices that store or handle sensitive data.
  • Contact local authorities to report the loss or theft.
  • Contact the IT Service Center for assistance in changing your passwords.

When You Return

Change your UMICH (Level-1) password—and any others you used on your trip—immediately upon your return.

Change your UMICH (Level-1) password at UMICH Account Management.

Michigan Medicine: See instructions for changing Michigan Medicine (Level-2) passwords.

Scan and clean your device.

Run a full in-depth scan for malware, using anti-virus and anti-spyware tools. If any malware infections are detected, follow the remediation steps recommended by the antivirus tool.

You will need to take more precautions if you are traveling internationally or to a high-risk location.

Enjoy your trip, and keep your devices and data safe. It's good for you and the U.