UVM's Information Security Operations Team answers "Why?" Why?security

Being “Smart” With Your Smartphone

Last month was National Cyber Security Awareness Month.  To keep you thinking about security, this is the third of four tips based on current hot topics at the university.

Being “Smart” With Your Smartphone

Chances are if you have a smartphone you know what a useful tool it can be and chances are even greater using it as a “phone” constitutes a small percentage.  With that in mind, we offer some tips to help you stay secure:

  • Stay up-to-date with software updates.  We know that change is hard and often not welcome, but updates usually include important security fixes that ensure the information you enter, access, and store in your smartphone stays secure.
  • Set a passcode.  It doesn’t have to be a combination of 23 letters, numbers, and special characters.  Even just enabling the passcode enables important security features, such as encrypting the data on the phone so that only someone with the correct passcode can decrypt it.  A four-digit passcode is a start, but even better is something simple that adds a bit of complexity yet is easy to type on a tiny virtual keyboard.  Examples: 37Snowflake or Freefall28
  • App Stores.  Sticking with the native app stores, such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, will help to ensure that the apps you install don’t contain any password-stealing malware.  There are examples of simple game apps stealing information from your phone and sending it off to the Internet while you’re playing the game.
  • Loss/Theft: Subscribe to the “find my device” service for your particular phone.  By doing this, if you do lose your phone, you’ll have multiple options for locating the device, sending a message to it, or even erasing it remotely.


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