12 Scams of the Holiday Season: Secure Your Mobile Devices

Posted on: December 18, 2019 | By: Tarah Holland | Filed under: Tech Tips, Devices, Info Security, Online Safety Tips

Mobile devices are great for bringing a wealth of information to our fingertips while on the go. But with the increased functionality of these tools and the convenience that they offer, our personal information is more vulnerable to a number of cyber security threats.

Now, more than ever, it’s critical that your devices are secure and up to date to help minimize the dangers faced online and also if your device is lost or stolen. Would you know what steps to take?

Below are tips to help you safeguard your devices and details about the steps you should take if your mobile device is lost or stolen.

Keep Software Up to Date

Keep your mobile phone and apps up to date. Your mobile devices are just as vulnerable as your PC or laptop. Having the most up-to-date security software, web browser, operating system and apps is the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.

Manage & Create Strong Passwords

Strong and unique passwords can go a long way in helping you to secure your devices and data. When combined with multi-factor authentication, such as DUO Security or biometrics like fingerprint or face recognition authentication, it becomes even more difficult for unauthorized persons to gain access to your devices. Learn more tips to help you manage passwords.

Don’t Grant Unnecessary Access

When you install an app, what permissions does it ask for? Be thoughtful about who gets information about you and how it’s collected through the apps you download. A tracking app may want to know your location, but a beauty app doesn’t need that information. Never give permissions for such things as your location, contacts, microphone or camera to anything that doesn’t need it.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks, Use VPN

Using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks can leave you and your device open to hackers seeing important emails, sensitive personal data and unsecured logins. In addition, your device could also be hacked. The use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) can offer protection. VPNs allow you to connect securely to specific application, even though you may be using a public Wi-Fi connection. See more tips about using public Wi-FI networks and learn more about VPN access offered at Elon.

Protect Against Malware & Viruses

Avoid hacks such as jailbreaking, which removes restrictions placed by device manufacturers and rooting, which is the process of gaining administrator access to a device and granting root access permissions to installed apps. Both jailbreaking and rooting overrides security protections on your device and make you more vulnerable to attacks. In addition, consider installing an antivirus application for added security.

Report Loss or Theft Immediately

If you lose your device or believe it has been stolen, report it to your carrier immediately. If your university-owned device is lost or stolen, report it to the Service Desk. It is also important to change passwords related to banking or other related apps to help prevent identity theft.

Learn more about the steps to take if your iOS device is lost or stolen or the steps to take if your Android device is lost or stolen.

Visit the Office of Information Security website to learn more about cyber security tools and services offered on campus and sign up to receive security alerts.

Sources: The University of Texas at Austin, Tripwire and How to Geeks.


Tarah Holland

Tarah Holland is a Digital Content Strategist at Elon University.

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