Mobile Device Security

Purpose of this Article

To ensure that everyone understands the importance of mobile device security and how to reduce the risk to their data by taking appropriate measures.

Guidance

Portable devices such as smartphones and tablets are mobile computers and so they are also exposed to many of the same virus and malware risks as desktop computers. You should take care to ensure that you only install software from trusted developers, hosted on official app stores (e.g. Google Play, Windows Store & App Store).
Mobile devices are also an attractive target for thieves so keep your personal belongings safe. Always back up your important information, including documents, photos and contact information somewhere safe, in case of loss, theft or corruption.
If you connect a mobile device to a UWE provided network, or use one to access UWE systems and data, whether personal or University-owned, you are responsible for following policy and keeping this data secure. If you are a member of staff using your personal device for University business, you are fully responsible for ensuring the security of that information and ensuring that you remain compliant with university policy and Data Protection legislation.

Use a PIN or Password

All portable devices have the option to prevent unauthorised access by setting a PIN or password, so ensure that you make use of this function. Using a swipe pattern to unlock your phone or tablet is less secure than using a PIN, and setting a strong password is the most secure mechanism of all. Most devices allow you to set up an automatic screen lock after a period of inactivity. These options can be accessed through the settings menu of your device. Check the manufacturer's instructions if you require more information.

Encrypt your mobile device

Encrypting data makes the information unreadable unless the viewer uses a secret key to unlock it, called decryption. Data encryption can be applied to both stored data, on computer drives or USB storage devices, and data being transferred via networks. If you store data, emails or photos on your portable device then you should encrypt the device to protect this information. If your device is already protected with a PIN or password, encryption will further reduce the risk of your data being subject to unauthorised access.
Encrypting your device is an irreversible process, and if you forget the passcode you use to encrypt the device then your data will not be recoverable. Many new devices are encrypted by default, but some are not – please see the following instructions to find out more.

Encrypt your Android Device

  • Go to your Android Phone or tablet’s settings
  • Select "Security"
  • Select "Encrypt Phone"
  • If you have not set a passcode, you will now be asked to. Follow the instructions and set a strong password when prompted
  • This will encrypt your device memory, but will not encrypt the contents of any SD card used in the phone. Take care not to store sensitive or valuable data on removable storage

Encrypt your Apple Device

The moment you set a passcode or enable Touch ID on an Apple device running iOS 8 and upwards, the full device encryption is turned on automatically without you having to do anything.

We highly recommend turning on passcode/Touch ID on your device to make sure it's encrypted. Here's how to go about doing this:

Step 1: Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

Step 2: Select Touch ID & Passcode from the list of available options.

Step 3: Now simply tap Turn Passcode On and enter in a passcode of your choice. A longer alphanumeric passcode is recommended but a six-digit PIN code will do as well. Avoid four-digit PINs as your passcode. You can change this from Passcode Options in Set Passcode screen.

Additionally, you can also opt to utilize Touch ID for biometric authentication if your device comes equipped with Apple’s Touch ID sensor.

Now to confirm if encryption is enabled or not, head to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and then scroll to the bottom of the screen. Here you should see "Data protection is enabled".

Encrypt your Windows Device

  • Go to your Windows Phone or tablet’s settings
  • Select “Device Encryption”
  • Turn on the encryption option
  • If you have not set a passcode, you will now be asked to. Follow the instructions and set a strong password when prompted
  • This will encrypt your device memory, but will not encrypt the contents of any SD card used in the phone. Take care not to store sensitive or valuable data on removable storage

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