Mobile Devices

Digital Data in Your Pocket

Mobile devices help us stay connected. Small enough to fit in our pockets, these multifunctional devices are becoming more powerful and common than ever. Because we are able to take our digital with us wherever we go, that mobility increases the risk of our digital data being vulnerable to threats.

 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 your mobile devices. Unless precautions are taken to protect the data, unauthorized users may gain access to your information, services and/or accounts to commit fraud.

Protect Yourself—and Your Mobile Devices

The easiest way to protect your data and your devices is to enable 2-factor authentication, as well as use PINs and secure passwords. Here are a few additional strategies you can use to keep your devices as safe as possible:

  • Keep all software up to date just as you would on your computer. Set your device up for automatic software installs and updates. 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, back up your data, and 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 app 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.
  • Understand the terms of use. If the app requires more access to your account and/or device than is needed to run the service, it’s best not to continue. Be aware that terms can change over time, so review terms of use often.
  • 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.

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Mobile Device Safety Resources

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