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GSA’s Federal Mobility Group Releases New Cybersecurity Guidance for Traveling Government Employees

Travel cybersecurity


GSA’s Federal Mobility Group Releases New Cybersecurity Guidance for Traveling Government Employees

The Federal Mobility Group, an office under the General Services Administration, has issued new guidance to government employees traveling overseas with agency-issued devices. Titled, “International Travel Guidance for Government Mobile Devices,” the guidance gives individuals and agencies actionable steps to strengthen cybersecurity on their mobile devices and when accessing federal networks while abroad, Federal News Network reported Thursday.

The document is seen to prove especially useful in areas that have far different laws around access and security. Carnella Stephens, a cybersecurity analyst for the Department of State, said that despite the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic in many countries, international travel for federal business is expected to pick up.

Stephens said that because employees traveling on official government business will inevitably be carrying their issued mobile devices along with them, the threat of a breach is ever-present. She added that there is a need to recognize that because of their portability and always-on state, mobile devices are susceptible to compromise, theft, physical damage and loss.

The official said that the FMG’s latest cybersecurity guidance was born out of an intergovernmental collaboration effort and it applies to government-furnished equipment, smartphones and tablets. The Group identified best practices for securing mobile devices before, during and upon completion of travel, and existing agency guidance and best practices were likewise reviewed, she added.

For her part, Amy Hamilton, senior advisor for National Cybersecurity Policy and Programs at the Department of Energy, said in the U.S., people take the security of their devices for granted “because of laws in place at home about what is or is not permitted, but that is not always the case abroad.” She said that traveling government employees might not realize that they are inadvertently connecting to state-run networks in certain countries.

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Category: Cybersecurity