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Security Awarness For Everyone
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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PC Security on the Road

Access to IT assets while traveling, or at home, is widely practiced at CDC. The standard on movement of information into and out of CDC-controlled environments is an important part of the information you need to do you job properly.

Please review it now, at CDC & ATSDR Standard for Individual Access To/From CDC Internal IT Resources.

Theft opportunities increase when you travel. Professional thieves know this and will take advantage of it if you drop your guard. Common places they will be watching include: 
(Click on an item to view your defense)

Explanation of tips for PC Security on the Road
At an airline or rental car counter

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Never leave your computer bag unattended. It will disappear quickly if you do so. If you have to set it down you should stand with your foot through the shoulder strap. This could prevent someone from simply picking it up and walking away with it.

While going through the airport security

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After you set your computer bag on the x-ray conveyor belt, a decoy will jump in front of you and set off the metal detector alarm deliberately. Meanwhile an accomplice steals your computer on the other end of the conveyor belt. Before placing your computer on the conveyor belt, ensure that the pathway through the metal detector is clear of other individuals so you may pass without delay.

As you are loading your luggage into a taxi

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It's easy to become distracted while loading multiple bags or suitcases into a taxi. There could even be an alliance between a computer thief and a taxi driver to make matters worse. Keep your computer bag on your shoulder if possible. Do not allow the taxi driver to load it in the trunk. Carry it with you into the vehicle where it will be safe with you.

On a crowded train or bus

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In many large cities the main method of commuting is mass transit such as trains or buses. A computer thief will wait until an unsuspecting traveler lets down their guard. Then, when the doors open they will run by, grabbing the computer bag, and head straight out the door of the vehicle. It can happen before you know what hit you. Always keep a firm grip on your computer bag strap or handle. Be aware of others around you.

At a meeting or conference

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Hotels and convention centers are prime territory for unattended computers or visitors with computers that let down their guard. In one real life case, an entire hotel conference room of PC's was taken while the meeting attendees were getting their lunch. Always lock your PC to a solid fixture if you think you may have to leave it unattended. Secure your data further by utilizing a password protected screen saver. Avoid leaving your equipment unattended if at all possible.  If sensitive, or restricted access data are stored on the device, encryption is required by CDC policy.

While waiting for your plane

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A thieve can reach under the row of terminal seats or sit down near you. If your computer bag is on the floor, keep your foot through the shoulder strap. If you can, place it in the seat next to you with your arm through the shoulder strap or with a grip on the handle.

While at your hotel

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PC thieves have actually posed as bellmen helping you unload your bags from your vehicle and directing you inside for registration. Once inside they disappear with your PC. Additionally, when you leave your room for dinner or other functions, use a good lock down device or security cable. Secure your computer to a good solid fixture such as a large table, a radiator, a pipe, or even the base of the toilet if nothing else is available.

While using a public pay phone

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Business travelers are often seen talking on a pay phone while holding files, day planners, pens, etc. If you find yourself in this type of a situation set your computer bag down and stand with your foot through the shoulder strap. This can prevent someone from picking it up and walking away with it while you are distracted with the business at hand.

If you stop to help a stranger (decoy)

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This ploy usually involves two or more individuals. One person will stop you to ask for assistance, directions, change, etc. While you are busy helping them their accomplice steals your computer bag. A person that is truly in need of help will not mind if you secure your things before offering assistance.

PC Security in the Office

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This CD-ROM was produced April 8, 2003
from the original content of "Security Awareness for Everyone."

Copywrite 2001 Security Awareness, Inc.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention