Coming to campus? Visit this page for important information.
Mobile Device Security

The Power is in Your Hands

Mobile Device Security

Mobile devices are increasingly important in the computing landscape. Many people have their phone with them continually and check it regularly. A large percentage of total Internet browsing is done from mobile devices. The advent of mobile versions of enterprise applications like Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, Word and Excel mean that people can also easily work from their devices.

The importance of these devices to both our daily personal and work lives means that we should know the best ways to be secure when using them.

Mobile Device Security - App installation

Question mark inside circle graphic illustrationTest Your Instincts

Scenario (App installation):

You’re browsing the web on your mobile device and a pop-up appears to download the site’s mobile app.

Before you download the app, here are questions you might ask yourself:
  • Do I use this website often? Should I install an app I might never use again?
  • Is the app distributed through an app store?
  • What data will this app collect?
  • Do I trust this website? ?

Some apps provide an optimized experience for mobile devices and provide value. Use the AppStore & iTunes or Google Play for trusted apps, games and media. But other apps may be harmful or continually track your location, so use caution before installing. Don’t install apps that ask for permissions that don’t make sense for the app. Read an app's reviews before installing it. Delete apps that you’re not using.

Recommended Response

"I do not need another app, but thanks for the offer."

Be a "Human Firewall"

A human firewall is someone who thinks about the cybersecurity implications of a situation and takes appropriate action to safeguard accounts, information and research, and computing resources. It’s the digital equivalent of looking both ways before crossing the street. A human firewall pauses to stop, think, then clicks only if appropriate.

Many users have a false sense of security, believing that technology solutions such as passwords, anti-virus, and network firewalls protect them from the evils of the Internet. Technology cannot protect against everything, so online users also need to be human firewalls.

Some apps provide an optimized experience for mobile devices and provide value. Use the AppStore & iTunes or Google Play for trusted apps, games and media. But other apps may be harmful or continually track your location, so use caution before installing. Don’t install apps that ask for permissions that don’t make sense for the app. Read an app's reviews before installing it. Delete apps that you’re not using.

Recommended Response

"I do not need another app, but thanks for the offer."

Be a "Human Firewall"

A human firewall is someone who thinks about the cybersecurity implications of a situation and takes appropriate action to safeguard accounts, information and research, and computing resources. It’s the digital equivalent of looking both ways before crossing the street. A human firewall pauses to stop, think, then clicks only if appropriate.

Many users have a false sense of security, believing that technology solutions such as passwords, anti-virus, and network firewalls protect them from the evils of the Internet. Technology cannot protect against everything, so online users also need to be human firewalls.

Best Practices

  • Enable a security PIN, inactivity auto-lock, and the built-in encryption
  • Apply automatic updates for the operating system and apps
  • Use the AppStore & iTunes or Google Play for apps, games and media
     
  • Some apps may be harmful, so use caution when installing. Don’t install apps that ask for permissions that don’t make sense for the app. Read an app's reviews before installing it. Delete apps that you’re not using.
  • For the best experience, use major vendor apps, like the Firefox or Chrome browsers and Microsoft Outlook email app
  • Use the University’s GlobalProtect VPN, especially on public/free WiFi
  • Enable find my phone, lock my phone, and remote wipe features

Up Your Mobile Device Security Even More

  • Devices not receiving security updates should be replaced. Security updates typically occur every 3-6 months, and at least yearly. Since mobile device apps and user accounts are highly integrated, it is important that the entire device get regular security patches.
  • Be on the lookout for mobile-specific threats like Vishing (phishing voicemails) / Smishing (phishing text messages). The people behind email phishing campaigns will also target your phone. Be wary and double-check legitimacy of suspicious messages.
  • Install anti-virus for mobiles, such as Sophos Intercept X for Mobile from Google Play. Just like computers, mobile devices can be infected with viruses, malware and dangerous apps.
  • Disable Bluetooth, NFC (tap payments) and GPS location services if not being used. This will increase your security and privacy, and extend your battery life.