First of all, I hope this is the right stackexchange to ask this. Seems to be most relevant here.

Now, if one is planning to go overseas and he/she has a lot of data on the email account (say, gmail) that needs to be protected, what security considerations need to be taken care of?

I mean, I'm thinking of making a second gmail account, forward everything to the gmail account while not accessing the former at all.

Is there anything else I'm missing?

  • 1
    Are you using your own hardware or are you talking about accessing the account in places such as Internet cafe's? Mar 3, 2011 at 13:58
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    @Mark Davidson, I doubt we should specify this case - people can stumble upon both of situations. If one does not see answer here, similar question will be created.
    – anonymous
    Mar 3, 2011 at 14:12

4 Answers 4


If you are bringing your own laptop you wont even need that... however if you dont trust the hardware you are working on, then this precaution you are taking will protect your original account, but not the new created account with all the data in it. (gmail can use https if you set it up).

There isnt much you can do against hacking, if you dont trust your work environment.

P.S. maybe the best choice would be to get a smart-phone / small laptop?

EDIT: dont forget to encrypt the laptop & switch off the phone, so the sim card wont be accessed if stolen. SSH Port forwarding is usually a good idea if you have own hardware.


In addition to the good suggestions mentioned here, I have a few more suggestions that may help somewhat:

  • Enable HTTPS in Gmail. Tell Gmail you only want to allow HTTPS connections.

  • Install HTTPS-Everywhere. This will help ensure your browser always uses HTTPS, not unencrypted HTTP.

  • Consider using two-factor authentication. Google supports two-factor authentication; it calls it 2-step verification, so logging in will require access to both the browser and your phone. You could enable this.

  • Encrypt your filesystem. If you are concerned about someone having physical access to your laptop (e.g., in customs; left in your hotel room; etc.) -- and you probably should be -- set up an encrypted filesystem. Encrypt the entire filesystem on your hard disk. PGP sells an encrypted filesystem product. TrueCrypt is free and good.

  • Don't access your account from an untrusted computer. Don't access your account from a cybercafe or someone else's computer, while overseas. That's dangerous. If the security of the information is critical, consider buying a netbook; they're relatively cheap, and you can wipe their hard drive before and after you fly overseas.


Forwarding to another GMail account won't really do anything, unless you're concerned about old emails, in which case it would just prevent them from accessing older stuff.

Don't use GMail, use a different mail server (one you pay for through hosting is usually good), and use a client with PGP/GPG encryption. If you're in an internet cafe, make sure to connect to your webserver over https or through a proxy. Although you can never be sure if your keystrokes are being recorded so I would highly recommend against an icafe. Something like a library or reliable public source would probably be better.

Best bet is to get a VPN (you can find good ones for < $7/mo) and use your own personal computer/device, along with a client/server that supports encryption.

  • Agreed - if you use an internet cafe, assume any of your data is compromiseable. If your data is sensitive, never use an internet cafe!
    – Rory Alsop
    Mar 5, 2011 at 0:24

You can create a Linux live CD \ live USB and use it on other computers. When you boot the operating system of the live CD \ live USB any potential virus \ Trojan on the computer wont effect you. and you also don't leave any traces \ caches \ history

If you use https you have also good protection agains network based attacks \ data leakage.

You still have the potential problem of hardware based keyloggers if this is an issue.

General information regarding Live Linux at pendrivelinux.com Specific distributions include tinycorelinux, slax, siltaz

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