Cybersecurity Tips for Business Travelers: Best Practices for 2021

Cybersecurity Tips for Business Travelers: Best Practices for 2021

As we emerge from the pandemic, organizations will confront a new world of business travel and a new world of cybersecurity tips for travelers. What has changed? What hasn’t changed? 


The particular cybersecurity risks and threats that might face business travelers are, of course, always evolving. But during 2020 and 2021, most of our business travel was replaced by video calls and other alternatives. We stopped traveling. And yet, the landscape kept changing. Here’s what you need to know about what’s new in cybersecurity for travelers. 


Airport Smartphone Searches


The biggest change for U.S. business travelers is the legal status of smartphones. The U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment says citizens have the right to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”.


It’s still uncertain whether smartphones are covered under the “papers and effects” part of that clause. Specifically, can U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents search American citizens’ smartphones? 


The answer used to be no. Then the answer became ‘well, sort of’. But late last year, a U.S. appeals court ruled that Customs and Border Protection agents are allowed by law to search phones and laptops, including so-called “advanced searches”. They can legally do so without a warrant or even the burden of reasonable suspicion. Phone data is now fair game at the airport. 


The case stems from a lawsuit by a group of citizens including a NASA employee. Customs agents pressured scientist Sidd Bikkannavar to unlock a secure, government-issued phone.


It’s possible that this ruling may be overturned in future court cases. But, as we sta ..