Security Precautions when Traveling with Laptops
The FBI issued the following warning for malware installed on travelers’ laptops through software updates on hotel internet connections:
“Recently, there have been instances of travelers’ laptops being infected with malicious software while using hotel Internet connections. In these instances, the traveler was attempting to setup the hotel room Internet connection and was presented with a pop-up window notifying the user to update a widely-used software product. If the user clicked to accept and install the update, malicious software was installed on the laptop. The pop-up window appeared to be offering a routine update to a legitimate software product for which updates are frequently available. The FBI recommends that all government, private industry, and academic personnel who travel abroad take extra caution before updating software products on their hotel Internet connection. Checking the author or digital certificate of any prompted update to see if it corresponds to the software vendor may reveal an attempted attack. The FBI also recommends that travelers perform software updates on laptops immediately before traveling, and that they download software updates directly from the software vendor’s Web site if updates are necessary while abroad.”
Prohibitions on Usage of Government-Issued Laptops:
· Downloading Unapproved Software: All Department laptops must be encrypted with approved Department software, and only ITCCB or CA_CCB approved software can be installed on Department laptops.
· Downloading Internet Software: Internet Software must be installed by CA System Administrators from authorized sites. You may not download internet software to your government laptop without prior approval from the system administrators.
Additional Security Tips:
· Read Hotel Wi-Fi Directions and avoid connecting to fake hotspots by verifying which network actually belongs to the hotel.
· Never click on a pop-up window. Reputable sites should not require a pop-up to work or function.
· Make sure software updates and security patches are applied on a regular basis and especially prior to a long trip.
· Make sure Anti-Virus definitions are kept updated.
Additional Laptop travel tips can be found on the IRM Mobile Computing Office website: http://irm.m.state.sbu/sites/ops/MSO/EML/MC/MCO/Pages/laptops_home.aspx.
FBI notices on scams can be found at http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/e-scams.
If you have questions or concerns regarding Laptop software updates or security issues, please contact the CA Service Desk (CAServiceDesk@state.gov) or the CA ISSO Security Team (CAISSO-Security-Team@state.gov).