Mobile devices help us stay connected. They have become indispensable tools for today's highly mobile society. Small and relatively inexpensive, these multifunctional devices are becoming more powerful than ever. They have become increasingly commonplace in work and at home. Portability has increased productivity and with that increased risk because of the vast amount of the personal, private and/or sensitive information that is stored on them which is frequently left unprotected. In addition to university data, anyone in possession of your device could have access to your pictures, emails, text messages, contacts and any financial information that you have saved on them. Unless precautions are taken to protect the data, unauthorized person may gain access to the information, access to services or accounts and commit crime or fraud.
How can You Protect Yourself?
- Keep all software up to date just as you would on your computer. Regularly install updates for all your software and subscribe to automatic updates wherever possible. Updates often enhance functionality and provide enriched features and more importantly, fixes to critical security vulnerabilities. You can check out your smartphone manufacturer’s website to see if any updates are available.
- Use mobile security software and keep it up-to-date. Many of these programs can also locate a missing or stolen phone, will back up your data, and even remotely wipe all data from the phone if it is reported stolen.
- Use password or Personal Identification Number (PIN) to protect your device. Enable strong password protection on your device and include a timeout requiring authentication after a period of inactivity. Secure the smartphone with a unique password not the default one it came with. Do not share your password with others.
- Think before you click, download, forward, or open. Regardless of how tempting the text, image, or application is, don’t click if the download isn't from a legitimate app store or the site of a trusted company.
- Be careful when you install apps on your phone. Install apps from a trusted source. This reduces your risk and increases your mobile device safety.
- Be cautious with public Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi hotspots are widely available to access data and these are associated with numerous threats. To be safe, avoid logging into accounts, especially financial accounts, when using public wireless networks.
- Disable Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities when not in use. Although Bluetooth and NFC capabilities can provide ease and convenience, they can also provide an easy way for a nearby, unauthorized user to gain access to your data. Turn these features off when they are not required.
- Securely dispose of your device. It is important that you wipe the information from your smartphone before disposal. Ensure any SD cards are removed and erased. If you are not redeploying the SIM card to another device, then make sure your personal information stored on the SIM card is erased or destroyed.
- If your device is lost, report it immediately to your carrier or organization. Some devices allow the data to be erased remotely.