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Your mobile devices – including smartphones, laptops, and tablets – are always within reach everywhere you go, whether for work, travel, or entertainment. These devices make it easy to connect to the world around you, but they can also pack a lot of info about you, your friends and family, and your employer. This includes information like access to your social media accounts, contacts, photos, videos, emails, location, health and financial data, and sensitive work-related data. It is important to use your mobile device safely!

The first steps are to:
  • STOP: make sure security measures are in place
  • THINK: about the consequences of your actions and behaviors online
  • CONNECT: enjoy your devices with more peace of mind



Table of Contents

Secure Your Devices

Use strong passwords or Touch ID features to lock your devices. If your device is lost or stolen, these security measures can help protect your information, keep prying eyes out, and even aid in locating/recovering the gadget.

  • Authentication: Configure a strong password or pin and set up a fingerprint login or face ID. Also enable auto lock on your device so it will require authentication if you leave it unattended.
  • Backup your data:  Make sure to regularly backup your device. Many mobile devices are lost, stolen, or break and you don't want to lose those important photos and files.
Securing Your Phone/Tablet

All phones and tablets come with reliable ways to secure them - but you may need to take action to enable these features. Here are a few tips:

  • Find a lost device: Install and/or configure applications like Find-My-iPhone or Locate-My-Droid. If your device is lost or stolen you may be able to quickly find and recover the device.
  • Remote erase: Enable the remote wipe or the remote data deletion option on your device to protect data if your device is lost.
  • Hacking / jailbreak: Don't "jailbreak" your device. This often removes many of the security precautions put in place by the manufacturer or wireless carrier.
Securing Your Laptop
  • Encryption: Make sure your laptop hard disk is encrypted to ensure a thief can't get access to your data if your device is lost. 


    All University-owned computers are encrypted to protect sensitive student and institutional data.

Keep Your Device Clean

Automate software updates: Mobile devices are just as vulnerable to malware as a regular computer. Fortunately, many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.

Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

Plug & scan: USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.

Delete when done: Many of us download apps for specific purposes, such as vacation planning, and no longer need them afterwards. Or, we have previously downloaded apps that are no longer useful or interesting to us. It is a good security practice to delete apps you no longer use.

Get Savvy About WiFi

Public WiFi is not secure, which means that anyone can potentially see what you are doing on your mobile device while you are connected. This includes WiFi offered in coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, etc., and company guest WiFi (like SPU-Guests at SPU). Limit what you do on public WiFi and avoid logging in to key accounts like email and financial services while on these open networks. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal/mobile hotspot if you need a more secure connection on the go.  When using Public WiFi, take some precautions:

  • Use secure sitesWhen banking and shopping, ensure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://", which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “http://” is not secure.
  • Stay up-to-date: Update your operating system, firewall and virus protection regularly. You are exposed to a much higher level of potential risk on a public WiFi connection. Protect yourself beforehand.
SPU WiFi Security

The SPU-Wireless network is secure, requires authentication, and encrypts the data that travels through the air to prevent hackers from listening in on your communications. The SPU-Guests network is not secure and is provided as a convenience for university guests only. SPU students and employees SHOULD NOT use SPU-Guests. If you are connecting to SPU-Guests, use this opportunity to change to SPU-Wireless: How to use SPU's Network and Internet.

Safeguard Yourself Against Theft

While phones are common, they also bring a demanding price on the black market. Record the device's make, model number, serial number (the IMEI, MEID, or ESN #), and contact information for your carrier. Immediately report a device theft to your carrier and law enforcement. If lost while on campus, contact the Office of Safety and Security (206-281-2922). Working with CIS, OSS may be able to locate the device if it is still connected to the campus network.

Phishing / Scams on Mobile

Multiple research studies have shown you are three times as likely to be tricked by phishing and scams when using a mobile device. Review any suspicious messages more closely from a laptop or desktop. If that is not an option, learn how to verify the address of an email sender and how to inspect links on your mobile device.


A reminder that SPU will NEVER ask you to send your login credentials or other personal/confidential information via email. Your account credentials should not be shared with anyone.