Students Staff

May 2, 2017

Protecting your mobile phone and tablet – 10 top tips

Filed under: News, Security — Dan Jolly @ 4:40 pm

Your smart phone or tablet (let’s call it a mobile device) contains valuable information about you, your friends and your life. It may even contain sensitive University data or confidential information about work colleagues.

Mobile devices are super convenient for doing things on the move, but they run the risk of falling into the wrong hands through being lost, stolen or misplaced. They’re also under increasing threat from cyber criminals trying to steal your information through scams and malware. If sensitive University data is lost this can lead to problems, including large fines for the University.

There are precautions you can take to protect your mobile device and the information you store or access on it. Here are our 10 top tips!

1. Lock your device with a personal identification number (PIN) or password

This is the best way to prevent unauthorised access. You should also configure your device to automatically lock the screen after a certain period of time. You may be able to set up fingerprint or pattern identification if you don’t want to remember yet another password.

2. Don’t leave it unattended

Lost and stolen devices continue to be the number one threat to mobile users, so never leave it unattended – put it in your pocket or bag!

3. Only download apps from trusted sources and pay close attention to what permissions the app requests

Shop at reputable app stores and check the feedback from other users to see if it’s safe. If you have an Android device, avoid installing non-market applications by de-selecting the ‘unknown sources’ option. Also read the app’s privacy policy to see how much of your data the app accesses.

4. Keep your software, apps and operating system (OS) up to date at all times

This way you’ll always have the latest security updates.

5. Turn off wifi, Bluetooth and location services when not in use

Avoid connecting to public or unsecure wifi networks and hotspots. If you have to connect, save sensitive tasks, such as online banking or shopping, for when you’re on a secure network.

6. Install a mobile security app

Security apps add an extra layer of protection. As well as keeping your mobile device free from malware and other harmful infections, the best security apps will also help you avoid phishing scams, keep your personal data private, and help you find and wipe a lost gadget.

7. Don’t jailbreak, hack or root your own device

Tampering with your device to free it from the restrictions and limitations set by your provider can significantly weaken the security of your device. You can potentially open security holes or undermine your device’s built-in security measures. You’ll also invalidate your device’s warranty.

8. Always log out of banking and shopping websites

If your device falls into the wrong hands, a thief can potentially log in to your accounts. Always log out of the website first before closing the browser.

9. Set up remote locate, lock and wipe services

Ever misplaced your device? You may be able to use remote services to locate, ring, lock or erase your device. If you have an Android device, you can use Android Device Manager. If you have an Apple device, you can use Find My iPhone Activation Lock.

10. Know what to do if you think your device is compromised

If your device:

  • is lost or misplaced, try using the remote locate facility to see if you can find and recover it.
  • is stolen, the chances of getting it back are slim, so use the remote wipe/erase facility.
  • is infected with a virus or malware, get a security app and then run a virus scan to see if the infection can be removed. If not, then you may need to perform a factory reset.
  • has sensitive University data on it, report it to the IT Helpdesk.

In all cases, we recommend the first thing you should do is change the passwords for all of your online accounts, such as your email account and online banking. You should also change your University password.

Related resources

Poster download

MobileSecurityPoster_600x300b

Protecting your mobile device poster (pdf 87 KB)

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