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Cyber security: When travelling – be cautious on public Wi-Fi

60 percent of people at UiA connect to public Wi-Fi when working in a public space, last year’s security survey showed. It is risky, because it means that you open up your computer to the public. Fortunately, you have a good alternative in VPN (a virtual private network). A description of how to use VPN can be found below.

Vær forsiktig når du bruker PC eller telefon i offentlig rom. Det er fort gjort at noen snapper opp noe fra din skjerm som du helst vil ha for deg selv. (Illustrasjon: Thomas Andersen)
Exercise caution when using your computer or phone in public. Someone can easily capture something from your screen that you would rather have kept to yourself. (Illustration: Thomas Andersen)

Technology provides us with the freedom to work on the go. But public Wi-Fi is an unsecured network connection. However, the responses from the National Security Month survey show that last year 60 percent of people at UiA were not concerned with that. 

The study on Norwegian cybersecurity culture published by NorSIS, the Norwegian Center for Information Security, shows that nationally, conditions are the same. 

When abroad there are some additional security tips you do well to adhere to as well. See the bottom of the page.

Public Wi-Fi is an open barn door

Technology provides us with the freedom to choose where to work. But remember: When a computer or phone is connected to the internet, data from the unit is sent to a server or website.

If you don’t use an encrypted connection, like VPN, others on the same network can see the data you enter. They may capture your username and password for instance. For computer specialists it is known as a man-in-the-middle attack. It is a form of eavesdropping on two parties communicating with each other.

Hacking of public networks is very easy, even for people with limited knowledge. They can use simple methods to record the keystrokes of those connected to the network.

Many free hacking tools are easily obtainable on the internet.

Someone is watching you

When you pull out your computer or phone where others are present, think before opening emails or documents, or writing. There may be sensitive information on your screen which you would rather keep to yourself or keep internal. 

Det er ikke bare mødre som kan kikke deg over skulderen. (Illustrasjon: COLOURBOX)

Anyone can look over your shoulder. (Illustration: COLOURBOX)

Remember it is easy to look over your shoulder or peek from the side to see what you are reading or writing. Even though the person sitting near you is not a spy like Virginia Hall or Anna Chapman, remember that content can spread rapidly if someone finds it interesting. Even if it is just an isolated sentence. Or perhaps exactly then. 

It is not only when sitting with others in a coffee shop, in the park, in an airport lounge, in a crowded plane, train or bus – there are many possibilities – that people can get a quick peek. It is enough that someone simply walks by and picks something up from your screen.

The point is that you consider what you’re working on, other than Tetris and Noughts and crosses, and the consequences should the information leak.

The same goes for speaking on the phone. In the context of security, it is important to consider whether what you are saying is something others should hear. A different matter is common decency, but that is more about whether the people around you want to hear your conversation. It is hard for people to turn their ears off.

Why you should use a VPN

When using a VPN – a Virtual Private Network – all data traffic from your computer or phone is encrypted before being sent.

This means that the VPN creates a secure tunnel between your computer or phone and the receiver, in the context of UiA, via UiA’s server.

A bonus is that you can access UiA’s internal network – including Innaskjærs – when using VPN. 

Technically, your data is transmitted to the server at UiA, where it is decrypted and sent on to the receiver as if you were on site. 

Are you scared yet? Here is what you can do:

The VPN Portal is easiest to find by searching for vpn.uia.no and then simply log in.

Alternatively, you can check out UiA’s website: Access from home:

https://www.uia.no/en/library/access-from-home - click and log in: 

https://vpn.uia.no/+CSCOE+/logon.html#form_title_text

If the VPN app is installed on your computer, this is how you start the connection:

  1. Start the programme Cisco VPN Any Connect.
  2. Connect to vpn.uia.no
  3. Log in with your username@uia.no and password (your regular Feide-password).
Hvis du ikke vet hvor du finner VPN på PCen din: 1.	Klikk på windows-flagget nederst i venstre hjørne på kjermen. Da spretter det opp en rekke programmer. Klikk på en nedover-pil, så kan du bla deg nedover alfabetisk. 2.	Klikk på Cisco-ikonet 3.	Klikk på Cisco Any Connect Secure… 4.	… og klikk på Connect – og Voila! Du er i sikker-tunnelen til UiA og nyter godt av UiAs nett-sikkerhet

If you don’t know where to find VPN on your computer:

1.       Click on the Windows logo icon on the bottom left side of the screen. A list of applications appears. Press the down arrow key and scroll down alphabetically.

2.       Select the Cisco icon

3.       Click on Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility…

4.       … click the Connect button – and Voilà ! You find yourself in the secure tunnel of UiA and can enjoy UiA’s internet security.

If you don’t know where to find VPN on your computer:

  1. Click on the Windows logo icon on the bottom left side of the screen. A list of applications appears. Press the down arrow key and scroll down alphabetically.
  2. Select the Cisco icon.
  3. Click on Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility…
  4. … click the Connect button – and Voilà ! You find yourself in the secure tunnel of UiA and can enjoy UiA’s internet security.

If you don’t have Cisco VPN AnyConnect on your computer, you must first install the app

  1. Download ClickIT from the IT-help portal. 
  2. Choose Windows or Mac for download - (Illustration 1)
  3. A program pops up at the bottom left of the screen. Click on it.
  4. Answer Yes to the question if you want to let the program make changes to your computer - (Illustration 2)
  5. Click on VPN - (Illustration 3 – middle of the top row)
  6. Choose Install - (Illustration 3 – bottom right)
  7. You will receive confirmation that the app has been installed.
  8. Once the app is installed on your computer, you can start the connection as described above: If the VPN app is installed on your computer, this is how you start the connection:
Slik laster du ned VPN til maskinen din, se den trinnvise instruksjonen over.

This is how you download VPN to your computer. See the step by step instructions above.

Security tips when travelling abroad

Check some good tips on Nettvett.no: Sikkerhet på reise i utlandet (only in Norwegian) to raise your awareness of cyber-security risks when travelling abroad. Remember that we often behave differently when abroad than at home. It is easy to think that no one in your vicinity understands Norwegian. But can you be sure?

It caused a commotion when former Minister of Fisheries Per Sandberg broke the government’s strict rules and took his work phone along on his travels last year.

The Minister’s lack of security awareness is Bad OpSec – bad operational security – Morgenbladet writes in “How to hack a government” (only in Norwegian). Keep in mind that a minister’s phone is a lot more secure than the phone you buy at the store, and the same goes for your computer.

Check this out:

Sikresiden: Before you travel       

Remember to always keep Sikresiden.no available – here you will find assistance, tips and advice for most things! Also for private matters.

Also keep in mind:

UiA’s website on Data security, with many useful links.

UiA’s Speak Up website with advice and tips on everything from failures in the ventilation system and break-ins to how to report bullying and harassment.