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Safe Computing - Mobile Devices

 

Mobile devices like smart phones, tablets, iPads, laptops and netbook computers allow us to stay connected when we're "on the go".  Here are a few tips for using your mobile device safely:

 

  • Public Access Wi-Fi Networks
    Your data is not safe when you use a public Wi-Fi network (any wireless network that allows you to join without a password or with a common password).  Almost anything that goes across your screen can be seen by those around you.  This includes those who may look over your shoulder, as well as anyone who may be “sniffing” network traffic.  Someone “sniffing” network traffic can acquire any usernames or passwords that you may use or any data that you send over the Internet, compromising your safety and security. 
    • Be cautious about the site you visit and the information you release, especially when you're online through an unsecured or unprotected network.
    • Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone.
    • Protect you $$$! When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site has security enabled.  Look at the web address and make sure you see https:// in the URL.  The 's' means it is secure, so if it just says http:// then it's NOT secure.
    • Disable the geotagging feature on your phone.
    • Use a personal firewall when on an untrusted network (e.g., cafe, hotel or conference center).  Set the firewall to deny ALL incoming connections.
  • Protect you mobile device from viruses and other threats
    Just like your desktop computer, smart phones and other mobile devices can get infected with viruses and malware.  Most mobile devices have free or inexpensive software that can protect them from these threats.  Search your devices app store for "antivirus" to see what's available.
  • Protect your device with a password or PIN
    Most mobile devices have the ability to require a password or PIN to use the device.  This is recommended if you use your device to send and receive university email.  
  • Texting and SPAM
    Just like you need to use email responsibly, you should also protect your cell phone number.  Spammers, identity thieves, predators and cyberbullies also use cell phone text message to inflict hard.
    • Keep your cell phone number private and only give it to people you know and trust.  Be careful about where you post your number, including your Facebook profile or other social sites.
    • Never reply to text messages from people that you don't know.
    • Be suspicious of URL's sent to you in unsolicited text messages or from individuals you do not know.  For example, attackers may send you a text message claiming that there is a problem with your account.  If you visit the website they send you they may lure you into providing personal information or downloading a malicious file.
    • Be careful of meeting someone face-to-face if you only "know" them through texting.  They may not be truthful with you.  Let someone else know where you are going, take someone with you, or arrange to meet in a public place during the day time.