Our speaker on July 11th was Armin Ghazi, President and Lead Consultant of SSG Managed Technology Services (https://www.ssgmanaged.com/#home-section). He spoke to us about protecting our privacy at the border. He left a little pocket guide behind which can be found here

Armin grew up in Louisville Kentucky and went to university in Spain. He is and Iranian/U.S. citizen and his wife is an Iranian/Canadian citizen and due to recent aggressive questioning at the border by Homeland Security, he has become interested in persons personal devices being searched at the border. He cited a story of a U.S. citizen (a space industry employee) returning from Chile. The issue was that he head sensitive, confidential documents on his phone that he did not want to give up to the border guards. These guards can use a device developed by the Israeli government to break into a phone and then create a mirror image of the phone’s contents and copy them to a USB stick. The data is then assessed and the guards will decide if you can enter the U.S. or not. An issue occurs when your device contains data that belongs to clients. 

Armin gave us several options 

  1. Refuse to surrender your device (not an option) 
  2. Rent or ship your devices (very inconvenient). 
  3. Wipe and restore – i.e. backup all data to i-cloud and then delete from your devices. Restore at a hotspot in the U.S. 
  4. Use “burners”. These are dedicated travel devices used only for travel. 

In terms of regular safety regarding our data and passwords, Armin had the following suggestions: 

  1. Use a password manager. This will create an unique password for every account that you have (and more importantly, remember it!). 
  2. Enable two factor authorization (2FA) 
  3. Use cloud services and then remote access – very little is stored on the actual device 
  4. Always encrypt, sign out and power off