Keep Your Devices & Data Secure This Summer

Summer is a time for vacation and relaxation. We at ITS want you to soak in the sun and enjoy your free time as much as possible, so here are a few tips and tricks to keep you safe and give you peace of mind before you go full head-in-the-sand.

Keep an Eye on Your Things

Whether you’re in a local coffee shop, at the beach or a foreign airport, do not leave your laptop, phone, or bag unattended in public. It only takes a few seconds for a thief to grab your belongings and disappear.

Always be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your things. Don’t leave your bag hanging on the back of your chair and make sure all your pockets are zipped up and secure.

Checking Luggage?
Never store your valuables, electronics, or medications in anything you’re not carrying with you. Every year, hundreds of baggage handlers are caught stealing expensive items (e.g., cameras, computers, jewelry, etc.) from travelers’ luggage. Your shirts and shoes should be fine in checked bags but try to always keep your valuables with you when traveling.

Strong Passwords Are Important

Now is also a good time to make sure you have a strong passcode on your phone, tablet and laptop. This will serve as increased security should something be stolen.

A strong password contains:

  • at least eight characters (a strong passcode contains more than four digits)
  • upper and lower case letters
  • numbers and/or special characters

This can make them complicated and hard to remember, but it is much more effective and you can always use a password manager, such as the ones recommended HERE. Also, never keep any passcodes on a piece of paper (or anything else) that you carry with you.

Traveling with University Devices

If you are traveling for business and have sensitive or personally identifiable information (PII) stored on your Northeastern laptop, please contact the Office of Information Security (OIS) at before you leave. Laws and regulations govern how to store sensitive data on mobile devices while traveling, and the data or laptop may need to be encrypted to ensure its protection and compliance. For more information on PII, see the Appropriate Use Policy.

External & Cloud Backups

Even if nothing is stolen, there is always the chance that something will be lost. So, it’s also a good idea to back up your mobile data before you go on a trip. External backup drives are inexpensive and can be encrypted for protection if they are ever stolen. Backup drives also provide an easy and worry-free solution to keep your data safe. Cloud-based backups are also popular and an effective way to store your data. Using both a cloud-based and physical backup drive may be the best solution, just to be safe.

**Pro Tip: If you don’t need your electronic devices or valuables, leave them at home. You can’t lose what you don’t have.

Register Your Laptop with NUPD

Northeastern University Police Department (NUPD) will register your laptop for FREE. A small Stop Theft plate will be securely attached to your laptop.

To set up an appointment to register, please contact Crime Prevention Coordinator, Officer John Farrell, at 617.373.5402, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Use eduroam for Easy Worldwide WI-FI

Northeastern participates in eduroam, a reciprocal wireless system, which enables Northeastern students, faculty, and staff to securely access the eduroam wireless network off-campus at more than 5,000 participating locations worldwide.

A full list of participating US Institutions is available on the eduroam website. An international map is also available.

While there is eduroam access at universities across six continents, Europe boasts the most locations with thousands of participating colleges, universities and research facilities.

Connecting to eduroam
It is easy to connect to eduroam – you simply need to enter your eduroam username [myNEU username] (e.g., and your myNEU password.

Similar to NUwave, once you have entered and saved your login credentials on your device, you will be able to automatically connect to the eduroam network whenever it is available. More information can be found on the eduroam service page.

Make Free and Public Wireless Secure

Free and public wireless networks often have little or no security features, as these networks are not protected by enterprise encryption. This means that the hackers may be able to eavesdrop on or “sniff” your web browsing data, even gaining access to read your usernames and passwords.

To protect yourself and your information, whenever possible, connect to a virtual private network (VPN) before logging into any website when using a free or public Wi-Fi network.

*Click to Enlarge

Northeastern offers the Global Protect VPN to connect securely to Northeastern resources, such as intranet websites, the shared Q: drive, and remote desktop connections. However, that VPN does not protect you when visiting non-Northeastern resources, such as your bank or Gmail. For full security on other networks, consider using a third-party VPN service to secure all your wireless connections.

Limit Access to Your Data Remotely

In the event your phone is lost or stolen, the best option is to erase all the data from it to prevent anyone else from accessing your information – and you can do it remotely. Here’s how:

Stay Secure on Social

Do you really know and trust all your followers on social media?

Posting your travel plans on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter lets people know when you will be away from your home or apartment. Criminals could use this opportunity to steal your belongings.

Don’t be afraid to post and share your stories or photos, but be careful about who knows your travel plans.

Different Countries, Different Rules

And finally, if you are traveling internationally, keep in mind that each country has different laws and practices. Here are some tips for safe international travel from SecureNU.

Have Questions or Need Help?

Direct questions to the Office of Information Security (OIS) at or contact the ITS Service Desk at 617.373.4357 (xHELP) or

Updated May 2017