Mobile Device Security

Is Your Phone Still In Your Pocket? You just reached into your pocket to get your phone, only to find it missing. You realize that it was accidentally left at the restaurant last night, and on returning there it is nowhere to be found. … Or maybe you just left your laptop in a taxi, which is now long gone. You do not know the taxi company name or cab medallion number. We depend on mobile devices like laptops and smartphones for personal and/or work-related correspondence and activities. Contained on them is sensitive personal information; perhaps personal loan paperwork in your email, or maybe a confidential work project stored on a hard drive. Are you at risk of having your personal identity stolen, or having to explain to your boss what happened? Your answer depends on Mobile Device Security.

What is Mobile Device Security? Mobile device security refers to the measures taken to protect any sensitive data stored on portable devices from exposure. Portable devices can include laptops, smartphones, tablets, wearables, memory sticks, etc. Our increased utilization and dependency on these devices over the past two decades have made them a focal point for both theft and exploitation. While these devices have greatly improved both our personal and professional lives, so too have they introduced a new set of threats to be aware of and take steps to protect against.

What Should You Do? Improving the security of a mobile device starts with a basic set of practices. These include:

  • Leverage authentication. Utilize strong passwords, passcodes or, if available, biometrics to authenticate access to use your device. Always change default factory passwords.
  • Lock your device. Always lock your device when unattended, even if just for a short while.
  • Use encryption. Use device encryption technologies to protect the data stored on your portable device. Most portable device operating systems provide this capability, including Windows, MacOS, IOS, and Android. Ensuring your device is encrypted, accompanied with strong authentication for access, can help provide peace of mind that any sensitive data stored on it will remain inaccessible.
  • Remote lock & data wipe. Some devices, notably smartphones, have security features that enable the capability for you to remotely locate, lock or even erase your device if it is lost or stolen.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi. If your portable device supports Wi-Fi, avoid connecting to public wireless networks and instead seek out protected networks requiring authentication or the use of a personal hotspot. Also be careful using Bluetooth, pair only with known devices and do not use default PINs or link keys. Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you are not using them.
  • Keep software up to date. New exploits are being identified all the time. Make sure you keep your device up to date with the latest operating system or firmware versions and application software releases. This includes anti-malware and anti-virus software.

What Should I Do If My Mobile Device Is Lost or Stolen? Seek out both area law enforcement and any applicable lost and found resources. While no guarantee, sometimes Good Samaritans return lost items. Law enforcement can also be in a position to assist if they are aware, e.g., stolen equipment sometimes finds its way back to owners.

IMPORTANT: If your portable device is lost or stolen and it is used for work-related business, you have a responsibility to report the incident. Depending on its contents and the security steps taken (or not taken), there may exist the legal obligation to report a breach.

Questions? Please feel free to contact the IT Help Desk 734-973-3456 or