Mobile Device Security

Smartphones and tablets are essentially mobile computers that allow you to access the internet and email, download applications and games and store photos, videos and your personal information on them.  If your device is lost or stolen then someone could access the information stored on it, this could be your own personal information or it could be confidential UCD data which you have an obligation to protect. Therefore it is important to realise that you need to protect and secure your phone just as you would your home computer or laptop.

What should you do?

In order to protect your phone or tablet and the data stored on it you should have a look at the security features that are available in your phone. All phones have security settings though the exact options available will differ depending on manufacturer, model and software version. Use whichever features your device offers that provide the best security for your needs:

Password, passcode, or PIN: Setting a password, passcode, or PIN to access your device is generally simple and effective. Use a code that is four digits or longer, and keep it secret, like you do for your email password or passphrase.

Unlock pattern: Some mobile devices let you set unlock patterns that function like PINs. Use a pattern with some complexity (e.g., with at least five points), keep it secret, and protect it from observers. Additionally, be aware that smudges on the face of your device may reveal your pattern to unauthorized users.

Device lockout: Most mobile devices provide a lockout option that can be configured to automatically lock if your phone has not been used for a set period of time 5mins etc.

Auto-wipe: Auto-wipe is similar to the lockout option, but more secure. After several consecutive unsuccessful password, pattern, or PIN attempts, the device will automatically erase (i.e., wipe) all stored data and reset itself to the factory defaults.

Note: When you use the auto-wipe option, make sure to back up your data regularly. Consult your device's documentation for instructions on backing up data.

Encryption: Certain handheld devices are capable of employing data encryption. Consult your device's documentation or online support resources for information about available encryption options.

Useful Links

Apple Product Security

Android Security Overview

Windows Phone