Finnish security police: Don't take your phone abroad with you

Finland's security police Supo says that Finns should leave their mobile phones and laptops at home when they travel abroad. If it's absolutely necessary to take your device when travelling, be sure to keep an eye on it at all times, says Supo.

Image: Yle

Travelling abroad is stressful enough without worrying about the security of your electronic devices as well. Now Finland's Security Intelligence police Supo says that travellers should leave their phones, laptops and tablets at home when they leave the country.

If it's absolutely necessary to take a device on your trip, it should not under any circumstances be left unattended at any time. That's the message from Supo, which is concerned about security gaps in foreign networks.

Even a safe in a hotel room isn't secure, according to the agency's advice. Supo's Tuomas Portaankorva says there are three main reasons.

Firstly, the security of the networks themselves and their relay stations might be compromised—either by accident or design.

Confidential matters

Leave confidential matters out of your phone conversations abroad, says Supo chief Tuomas Portaankorva. Image: Mauri Ratilainen / AOP

"For that reason you should not speak on the phone about confidential matters when abroad," said Portaankorva.

Secondly, connecting to networks abroad allows phone and sim-card information to be given to foreign security services.

Thirdly, the network or local services used on it might act as a distributor of malware.

"The advice to leave phones at home especially applies to work phones, but I wouldn't really want to take my phone to certain countries either," said Portaankorva.

Sabotaged infrastructure

Supo says that administrative software behind many parts of critical Finnish infrastructure has been the target of numerous attacks by hackers or attempts at sabotage.

The advice follows a major report from the Finnish Institute of Foreign Affairs warning of Russia's new posture in international relations indicating an interest in cyber warfare and other non-conventional forms of attacks.