CyberSecurity Awareness #4: Mobile Devices

If you are like most people, your phone has the most private and confidential data of any device you use.

Be Safe When You're Mobile:

  1. Use a password/passcode on EVERY device.
  2. Use the built-in "Find my Phone" and remote wipe features.
  3. Never leave your device unattended in a public place. Don't leave it visible in an unattended car.
  4. Keep a clean device -- delete apps when done!
  5. Be smart on Wi-Fi (on- or off-campus).
  6. Consider your surroundings and use your device discreetly at locations in which you feel unsafe.

Use a Password/Passcode on EVERY Device!

Yes, we have said this A LOT and are amazed at how many people leave themselves exposed. Why would you leave access to your Facebook account, your banking transactions, your text messaging, your pictures, your email account, etc. -- to someone who has found or stolen your device? Please, set a login password or passcode on your phone.

Use the Built-in Features of Your Device for Security

All of the manufacturers have features to help keep your device secure.

  1. Configure the built-in system settings.
    • Enable auto-lock (lock your screen after 5 or 10 minutes)
    • Set a password/passcode
  2. 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.
  3. Enable the remote wipe or the remote data deletion option on your device (especially smartphones and tablets).
  4. Backup your data. Mobile devices are lost, stolen and break. Make sure to regularly backup your device.
  5. Don't "jailbreak" your device. This often removes many of the security precautions put in place by the manufacturer or wireless carrier.

Table of Contents

Keep a Clean Device and Delete Apps Not Used

  • Update Often: Your mobile devices are just as vulnerable to malware as your PC or laptop. Keep your device secure by updating operating system patches and apps often.
  • 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's a good security practice to delete all apps you no longer use.

Be Smart on Wi-Fi (on- and off-campus)

The SPU-Wireless network is secure, requires authentication, and encrypts the data that travels through the air to prevent sniffing and hacking. See the instructions here to connect any of your devices (computers, phones, tablets) to the SPU-Wireless network. SPU students and employees SHOULD NOT use SPU-Guests. If you connect to SPU-Guests, use this opporunity to change to SPU-Wireless (see instructions at the link above).

Use caution when you connect to a Public Wi-Fi hotspot (a coffee shop, restaurant, in a hotel, the airport, etc...). While easy and convenient, do take some precautions:

  • Only enter sensitive information on sites using the HTTP S  protocol. The "S" stands for secure and means that there is additional encryption in use and your data will be protected during transmission.
  • Avoid banking and credit card transactions when using public WiFi networks.
  • 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.

Safeguard Yourself Against Mobile Device Theft

Don't take for granted that 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.

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.