Mobile Device Security

Girl with mobile device

Mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, contain as much personal and private information as computers. And losing or having the device stolen or hacked can have the same dire consequences.  You can increase the security of your mobile devices by taking the same precautions as you do on your computer, and by following the security tips below.

Top 10 Mobile Device Security Tips

Make sure to lock your phone with a password, pattern, or pin.


While there are many ways to keep your data safe from virtual attacks, none of those measures matter if someone can physically grab your device and access the information. In case it accidentally gets left somewhere—even for a moment—be sure to have it locked. It could only take a few moments to copy your data to their device. You wouldn’t leave your car or house unlocked, so don’t leave your phone unlocked.

Device Locking Instructions:

Install and frequently update security software on all your mobile devices.


Smartphones and tablets get malware, too.  In fact, they are the top target for hackers (and yes, this includes iPhones).

  • Only DOWNLOAD apps from trusted sources. Take time to research whether the app has any "warning signs" out on the web. Google the app and check for news articles of reported vulnerabilities or issues from such resources as SC Media, Sophos News, and Krebs on Security.
  • Always UPDATE your apps, including your device's operating system. 
  • If you don't use an app, UNINSTALL it!


  • Trusted app stores try to ensure that no malicious apps can be DOWNLOADED. However, every piece of software has vulnerabilities, and they may be exploited at any time.
  • These UPDATES often fix vulnerabilities find since the last update.
  • Every INSTALLED app opens your device to vulnerabilities.

Set up your phone's "Find My Phone" feature.


Not only can these tools help you find your missing device; they can help make to secure your data. Make sure to use one that has a data wipe tool to ensure your privacy and security, especially if your device is lost or stolen.

Find Phone Tool Instructions:

Backup your device regularly.  Consider backing up to more than one location, such as to the cloud AND an external hard drive AND your computer.


Backing up your device regularly can protect you from the unexpected, such as fire, burglary, or water damage. 

Device Backup Instructions:

WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC (Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc) should all be disabled when not in use.


These items can be used to access your data without your permission. If they aren't being used, it's not worth the risk.

Jailbroken devices make it harder to install necessary updates. This leads to operating system vulnerabilities, which are normally detected and then solved through security patches.


Vulnerabilities that are noticed by the distributor get fixes sent out as patches. Without installing these patches, hackers have a known way to enter your device.

Hackers are posing as banks, pharmacies, and even hiring managers in order to steal personal information. Always check credentials.


This especially applies to those who handle hiring or are looking to be hired. They look to use excitement or fear to get you to click on a file or link before noticing it is fake. Ensure that the email is correct and coming from the correct domain, look for obvious spelling and grammar mistakes, and call the posing company (like your bank) if the email seems strange or unwanted.

Watch app location permissions, remove WiFi networks that you no longer use (such as vacation WiFi networks), and avoid using your name as your network name.


If old WiFi networks are left on the list of WiFis you can connect to, hackers can access this list and find out where you may be physically located. For exmaple, if a local restaurant's WiFi is saved, they can reasonably guess you live near that restaurant, especially if there are multiple local restaurants listed. Don't use your name as your network name because it's once again possible to determine where your home is located if they can determine which network you use at home.

Use UAWiFi on campus, your secure, password protected WiFi at home, and a VPN when connecting over public WiFi.


Over public, your data can be seen crossing the web. Someone can see where you are searching, what you are doing, and even get your passwords if you aren't careful. One way to do this is to intercept your connection and route it through their own WiFi network instead of the public one you intended to use.