I don’t know about you, but I am becoming increasingly paranoid about security when accessing my personal data while business traveling, especially financial websites like my retirement accounts, bank, and credit cards. If at all possible, I access these sites only when I’m at home.
While security should always be on one’s mind, business travelers should be especially careful when traveling to China, as it is recognized as having the most dangerous internet environment. A recent New York Times (NYT) blog article discussed this issue with former National Security Agency official, Thomas Parenty, wherein he discussed topics such as the biggest threat for foreign firms, mistakes made while trying to be secure in China, and precautions business travelers should take.
Comments on NYT post also suggest that if you do have to connect in China, only do so through VPN. Another comment suggests, “instead of trying to secure what one typically uses, and something that may well contain sensitive information, start from the premise that whatever you bring is inherently insecure and work from there. Even if nothing happens, you’re safer from the start.”
Another article from the Washington Post mentions Russia and France as additional countries that pose internet security challenges for business travelers, and carrying disposable cellphones and loaner laptops might be considered. Ultimately, security begins with awareness and it would be smart to always know what risks certain countries pose.