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Traveling Safely SIRT IT Security Roundtable. Harvard Townsend IT Security Officer May 8, 2009. Agenda . What and where are the risks? Using Internet cafes and WiFi hot spots safely (is that possible?!) Protecting your eID and other passwords

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traveling safely sirt it security roundtable

Traveling SafelySIRT IT Security Roundtable

Harvard Townsend

IT Security Officer

May 8, 2009

  • What and where are the risks?
  • Using Internet cafes and WiFi hot spots safely (is that possible?!)
  • Protecting your eID and other passwords
  • Protecting your personal and financial info
  • Airport risks
  • Laptop security
  • Things to do before you leave
  • Beware of export restrictions on certain technologies
  • K-State VPN service
what are the risks
What are the risks?
  • Identity theft
  • Financial fraud/theft
  • Physical theft (like your laptop)
  • Information loss/theft (personal, institutional, passwords, acct info)
where are the risks
Where are the risks?
  • Internet cafés
  • WiFi hot spots
  • Any public computer, even some private ones (e.g. hotel business center)
  • Airports
  • ATM machines
internet caf s
Internet Cafés
  • Technology typically not managed well. Susceptible to:
    • Worms, Trojan horses, etc.
    • Keyloggers
    • USB thumb drive infections
  • Browser cache, temporary files, deleted files, log data leave a trace of your activity
  • Staff sometimes part of the conspiracy
internet caf s1
Internet Cafés
  • What can you do about it?
    • Avoid them altogether, or just use them for innocuous activities like checking the weather, bus/train/flight schedules, tourist sites
    • Research locations before you leave or ask someone you trust (hotel concierge?) to determine which ones are reputable
    • Never use them for financial transactions
    • If at all possible, don’t use your K-State eID and password
    • Make sure it has antivirus software running and up-to-date – do a manual scan if possible; check for firewall too
    • Or run a free web-based AV check (like Trend’s HouseCall -, although this can be time-consuming and you’re paying for your time on the computer
    • Check installed programs, programs running in memory for anything suspicious
internet caf s2
Internet Cafés
  • What can you do about it?
    • When you delete a file, use a secure delete tool like “Eraser” (if you can install programs on the computer)
    • NEVER let it save your login/account informationin the browser
    • Clear the browser cache, cookies, history beforeyou leave
      • Firefox – Pull down Tools menu, select “Clear Private Data”, check all the boxes, select “Clear Private Data now”
      • IE – Pull down Tools menu, select “Delete Browsing History…”, select “Delete All”
    • Watch for shoulder-surfing
    • Don’t leave your computer unattended with any sensitive information showing, or authenticated sessions open (lock the screen)
    • Carry your own programs on a USB flash drive (browser, AV software, email client, password safe, VPN client, Secure erase, etc.)
    • Summary – AVOID or BE PARANOID!
other public computers
Other public computers
  • Treat them ALL with suspicion
  • Hotel business centers
    • Probably better than Internet café, esp. at reputable hotel, but even those are not without risk
    • They typically use an acct with Administrator privileges, so anyone can install anything
    • Use same precautions as Internet Cafés
    • Don’t use for financial transactions, your eID/password, or other sensitive sessions if at all possible
    • Plug your own laptop in if possible; turn off File/Printer sharing
other public computers1
Other public computers
  • Public libraries
    • In U.S., have extensive filtering that can prevent some malware too. Might be better managed than other public computers, depending on the staff at that library
  • Public Kiosks
    • “Danger, Will Robinson!” (just check the weather and news)
the wifi dilemma
The WiFi Dilemma
  • It’s SOOO useful and SOOO risky
  • Unsecured wireless networks are very easy to snoop – someone near you or even across the street can watch ALL of your traffic
  • Are freely available programs that watch WiFi traffic looking for anything that looks like a username and password, or account info
  • Hotels – just because you have to register or authenticate doesn’t mean it’s secure. They typically are not encrypted and you don’t know who is in the room next to you.
wireless security
Wireless security
  • Use K-State’s VPN service to access K-State systems; this does NOT protect your other Internet traffic
  • Don’t do financial transactions or other sensitive work in public WiFi zones, if possible
  • General wireless
  • Wireless
protecting your eid
Protecting your eID
  • Avoid using it in Internet Cafés and other public computers, if possible
  • Use K-State VPN service to access K-State resources when possible
  • Change your eID password when you get home as a precaution
protecting your personal and financial information
Protecting Your Personaland Financial Information
  • Take all the online precautions mentioned thus far
  • Always know where your passport is
    • Stow it securely on your person
    • Hide it in your hotel room or put it in a safe
  • Beware of pick-pockets
  • Conceal your valuables
  • Don’t let a vendor/server take your credit card out of your sight
  • Pay with cash as much as possible (so you don’t have to use your credit card)
  • Let your credit card companies know your travel destination and dates (can now do this online with some major credit cards)
atm security
ATM security
  • “ATM skimming” devices rampant in Europe, happens inU.S. too
  • Organized crime involved
  • Look for indicators of tampering with the keypad or card swipe/feed mechanism
  • Only use ATMs in the lobby of reputable banks; esp. beware of solitary ATMs in secluded places at night
  • Watch for people looking over your shoulder
  • Make a few large withdrawals instead of many smaller ones
  • High risk of theft
    • 16,000 laptops lost or stolen in airports in US and Europe PER WEEK!!
  • Will cover laptop security later
  • Don’t let valuables out of your site, esp. at security screening; criminals target airports and create diversions to distract you while they steal your laptop
  • Use same precautions with the public WiFi in airports that you would in any public WiFi hot spot
  • Beware of the oft-seenbut bogus“Free Public WiFi” ad hoc/computer-to-computer wireless network – don’t try to connect to it
  • General rule – don’t connect to unknown wireless networks
laptop security
Laptop Security
  • Never leave unsecured laptop unattended
  • Use a locking security cable
    • Hotel room
    • Public locations, coffee shop
    • Conferences, training sessions
    • Cost $15-$50, combination or key lock
  • Don’t leave it in view in your vehicle
    • Don’t trust the trunk - remember the quick release lever inside the vehicle?
  • Use strong password on all accounts
  • Don’t store sensitive info on it, but if you have to, encrypt the entire hard drive (K-State uses PGP Whole Disk Encryption software for this purpose):
laptop security1
Laptop Security
  • Don’t let it out of your sight when you travel
  • Be particularly watchful at airport security checkpoints
  • Always take it in your carry-on luggage
    • Never put it in checked luggage
  • Use a nondescript carrying case
    • One that doesn’t look like a laptop carrying case
    • Remove the manufacturer logo from the case
  • Be careful when you take a nap in the airport
    • Wrap the carrying case strap around your body
    • Use the locking security cable to secure it
tracking recovery software
Tracking & RecoverySoftware
  • If stolen, the computer contacts the company the next time it’s on the Internet; the company then traces it and contacts law enforcement to recover it; inconsistent results outside the U.S.
  • ComputraceLoJack for Laptops from Absolute Software ( is an example
  • Pre-installed in BIOS on many laptops
    • Dell
    • HP
  • Have to buy the license to activate
  • Costs about $30-$50 per year
before you leave home
Before you leave home
  • Backup your data
  • Record identification information
    • Record make, model, serial number of laptop
    • Take pictures of it
    • Label it with ownership and contact info
  • Write down credit card acct. numbers and phone numbers for credit/debit card companies (and take it with you)
  • If leaving the country, notify the financial institutions whose accounts you will use (destination and dates of travel)
  • Notify the U.S. state department if going to a volatile location:
export controls
Export Controls
  • “Export” broadly defined by Feds, includes “actual shipment of any covered goods or items”
  • Export Administration Regulations (EAR) by the Commerce Dept. controls technology
  • Int’l Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) by the State Dept. controls weapons (duh)
  • K-State’s University Research Compliance Office (URCO) has training available
cisco vpn client
Cisco VPN client?

“Civilian Solutions: Restricted Encryption and Unrestricted”

  • Cisco's restricted strong encryption solutions may be exported or re-exported to most civilian/commercial end users located in all territories except the embargoed destinations and countries designated as supporting terrorist activities. Countries listed in Part 746 of the EAR as embargoed destinations requiring a license are Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
  • See list of countries with embargos at
cisco vpn client1
Cisco VPN client?

“Government Solutions: Restricted Encryption”

  • Government entities not located in the following countries require a U.S. export license in order to obtain restricted non-retail strong encryption items: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.
virtual private network vpn
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • Encrypts all network traffic between your computer and the K-State border
  • Makes your computer appear to be on campus to get access to restricted resources
  • Does NOT necessarily encrypt everything that goes to the Internet (“split tunneling”)
  • Also does not encrypt traffic once it is on campus
virtual private network vpn1
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • Must install “VPN Client” software
  • Information and software available at:
  • Cannot use it on campus yet (to secure your wireless, for example); will be able to soon.
  • If can get to Internet but not K-State, modify the “Transport” configuration:
    • Enable Transparent Tunneling
    • IPSec over TCP



usb flash drive security
USB Flash Drive Security
  • No confidential data!
    • Too easy to lose, easy target of theft
  • Don’t use it as a backup device
  • “Erase” files so they aren’t recoverable
  • Encrypt files on it with TrueCrypt or -
  • Encrypted USB flash drives
    • Ironkey very popular -
    • View demo?