The following is helpful information on how to improve your mobile security.
Lock Your Device
A lost or stolen smart phone or tablet may ruin your day with having to find those contacts again, the money you spent, etc... Now think about this. What information do you have on your phone or tablet that may ruin your research, department, or University if it were to fall in the hands of someone else? Would an email that is in your account cause NDSU to be out of compliance? Do you have a password saved for your bank account? A key combination, swipe pattern, or password would eliminate a lot of worry.
They are the coolest things that smart phones and tablets have come up with; little bits of code that check your mail, report trending topics, calculate your gas milage, or show you where Jupiter is located right now. Know where your apps come from, most phones and tablets have their own place to purchase and install applications for your device. Make sure that you read what the app is going to have access to, what the app is going to report, and costs associated with the app. For the most part these repositories vet the apps before you are allowed to download them, however, its not a bad idea to read several pages of reviews from other customers before installing a strange app on your mobile platform.
Every phone or tablet manufacturer performs routine updates, usually several times a year, make sure you do not skip the updates, however, with updates, you may wish to wait a few days after the updates are made public before installing, just so if there are problems with the updates, those are fixed before your device gets them. But make sure that your device remains up to date with it software.
Smart Tips to Protect Your Device and Your Data
- Configure your mobile device to be secure and safe
Install anti-virus software on the device. Keep the anti-virus software up-to-date. Avoid connecting to open or "free" WiFi services such as those in Internet cafe's and coffee shops. Connect to secure WiFi networks where possible. Disable or turn off WiFi when not in use. Disable or turn off Bluetooth and infrared features when not in use. When in use, set them to be non-discoverable to render them invisible to unauthenticated devices. Keep your device's operating system software and applications that you installed on it current with all patches and updates. Select the automatic update option if available. Most devices will alert you that there are updates that need to be downloaded. Do not ignore the notices. Update all applications and services in a timely manner. Avoid storing and transmitting personally identifiable information, work related data, and confidential information from and to your device. If you need to do this, use a secure mechanism such as a VPN for transfer of information and encrypt the information when it is stored on your device. Use appropriate methods of sanitization and disposal when you no longer have a use or need your mobile device. Be sure to erase or wipe the data from your device; simply deleting the data will not completely remove it from the device's storage. This is especially important if you trade in the device to upgrade to a better device, give the device to a friend or family member, or sell the device to a third party. Use appropriate security measures to protect your mobile device and data from loss or theft.
- Enable a numerical key, swipe pattern or complex password on your device.
- Set the device to auto-lock after X number of minutes of inactivity.
- If available, enable remote wipe on your device should it become lost or stolen.
Use care when downloading and installing apps and services to your device. Ensure that you are downloading from a reputable Web site or from the device's "app store." Be cautious when opening unsolicited emails, text messages, and when clicking on links or attachments contained in those messages. Stay current on emerging threats and vulnerabilities for mobile devices. A good resource for reference is US-CERT.
- Never leave your device unattended. Know its whereabouts at all times.
- If your device should become lost or stolen, report it immediately to the proper authorities.
- If you send and receive NDSU email or store NDSU related data on your mobile device, notify the NDSU Help Desk immediately; they will assist you with remotely wiping the data from the device.
- Back up your data on a regular basis.