Mobile Device Security

With the increased usage of smartphones and tablets on campus, there are a few points to take into consideration in order to maintain proper safety and security of your mobile device and its contents.

Should your device be lost or stolen, it could be used to impersonate you via phone calls, text messages, and emails. Also, any data on your phone or tablet will be lost or potentially disclosed to unauthorized third parties, including any campus information you have on your device in the form of emails and email attachments.

In order to protect your mobile device and its information, please consider the following:

  • Always be aware of the location of your mobile device; never leave it unattended.
  • Be sure to use the built-in security features of your device, be it a PIN, password, or lock pattern, to prevent against the unauthorized use of your phone.
  • Write down your phone or tablet’s IMEI number or serial number and keep it in a safe place. It is a unique identifier for your device and can be used to block cellular access to your phone if it is lost or stolen or identify a device if it is recovered. You can contact your device manufacturer or mobile service provider if you are unsure where to find this information.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when using a mobile device. Eavesdroppers on your conversation, criminals who want your device or valuables, vehicles that may run into you, and any number of other hazards are things to be avoided.
  • Keep your mobile device's software and system up to date. Mobile devices, like most computers, require regular updates in order to keep them secure and have the latest features available. Configure your device to use automatic update features, where possible.
  • If you download applications or other software, don't forget to check for updates for these as well; be sure you get your downloads from reputable sources.
  • Make sure that your browser security settings are configured appropriately.
  • Never leave your mobile device unattended. Keep the device on your person, or within your reach, or within your sight, or in a secured location at all times.
  • Remember to back up your data on a regular basis.
  • Encrypt both the internal and external storage used by the device.
  • Use secure Wi-Fi networks and avoid unknown networks. Do not conduct personal business (e.g., pay bills, provide credit card information) using an unsecured network.
  • If you have features on your device that you do not use (e.g., Bluetooth), disable those features. Set any Bluetooth device to "non-discoverable."
  • As with any computing device you want to be cautious about clicking on links or returning calls or messages from unsolicited or unknown callers. Be cautious when clicking on QR (Quick Response) codes – be sure you know what the code points to.
  • Avoid using jailbroken iPhones, rooted Androids and similar devices. Though usability might be enhanced, so is the likelihood that the device will be compromised; altered devices are specifically targeted by malware.
  • Mobile devices are fairly reliable but susceptible to damage from being dropped, getting wet, freezing in a cold car, or cooking on a hot dashboard - protect your device from the elements.

In order to help protect against the unauthorized access of data should your mobile device become lost or stolen, the university provides a Remote Wipe capability for supported smartphones that you can activate via Webmail, which will erase all data on the phone and reset it to factory default settings if the device has previously been connected to the university email service. The following device operating systems support Remote Wipe:

•             Android 2.2 and above

•             iPhone iOS 3.0 and above

•             Windows Mobile 5 and above

Blackberry phones connected to the Concordia email system do not support this feature.

If you have any questions or need any assistance in making sure your mobile device is secure, please contact the CougarNet helpdesk at cougarnet@cuchicago.edu or 708-209-3131.