Securing Your Mobile Device

As smartphones and tablets become increasingly popular, it is essential that your device is configured to protect the sensitive information which can be collected, stored and transmitted using your device. The general suggestions below should be considered for utilization on mobile devices that make these controls available. See your data plan carrier for assistance, if needed.

Use a PIN, password, pattern, or fingerprint to lock your device, preventing unauthorized access.

Restrict the information displayed on the screen when your device is locked.

Regularly install operating system and firmware updates on all your devices.

Avoid using unsecured "public" wireless networks, as it puts your device and your data at risk.

Where possible, use anti-malware apps and software to reduce the risk of infection of your device, which could result in loss of, or unauthorized access to your sensitive data.

Find your device, or wipe it clean of data to protect your information in the event your device is lost or stolen.

  • Find your device
    • Prerequisite software (Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager) must be installed and active on the device and you must have signed into these services prior to losing the device for this to work.
    • With some devices you can also ring and/or lock the device with a password, even if you hadn't protected the device with a password before it was lost.
  • Automatically wipe the data after 10 incorrect password attempts
  • Remote wiping of data
    • Again, prerequisite software (Find My iPhone, or Android Device Manager) must be installed and active on the device and you must have signed into these services prior to losing the device for this method to work.

Get control over data and location tracking.

  • Frequent locations and tracking history
    • Your device tracks your recent and sometimes even frequently visited locations. Disabling these services provides more privacy.
  • Third-party apps
    • Some apps track your location, even when you're not using them. Disabling these services provides more privacy.
  • Data tracking for advertising
    • Keep advertisers from using data on your device to create a profile about you.
  • Browser autofill
    • Stop browsers from storing information such as usernames, passwords, addresses, etc.

Require a password for app purchases to give you more control over what is downloaded or installed onto your device.

Prevent the installation of apps from unknown sources.

As a general rule, you should only install apps from trusted sources, like the Apple App Store or Google Play store. Apple devices are configured to ensure apps are only downloaded from the App Store or a trusted enterprise via secure certificates, and that cannot be changed. Other operating systems such as Android may require a change in phone settings to disallow the downloading of information from unknown sources.

Don't jailbreak/root your device.

Sometimes people jailbreak, or root, mobile operating systems achieve escalation of privilege on the device. By gaining greater privilege on the device, it becomes easier to customize. However, escalation of privilege also makes the device easier to infect or compromise. Anti-malware software becomes more of a necessity when devices are jailbroken.