Mobile Device Health and Security

Mobile Device Health & Security
Anthony Dumas, USNH Information Security Services (ISS), July, 2015

Purpose of mobile security:

  • Safeguarding your identity and personal information is your primary responsibility.
  • Safeguarding your access to UNH/USNH accounts and resources is your obligation under the USNH Information Technology Security Policy (http://www.usnh.edu/policy/usy/vi-property-policies/f-operation-and-maintenance-property#5).
  • You must have a security-aware mindset
  • This article provides general recommendations for mobile security to enhance personal and institutional security

Why do you need mobile security?

  • Mobile devices are the emerging target for malware, hackers and social engineering attacks
  • Widespread proliferation of mobile phones makes for a large target
  • Lack of security awareness heightens vulnerability

Best Practices:

  • Enable a Passcode for Access
    • An unprotected phone allows a malicious actor to “become you”:
    • Emails – personal and institutional
    • Social Media – unauthorized posts
    • Purchases – they buy, but you pay
  • Use dual-factor authentication if available in device
    • Use strong passwords in your personal accounts
  • Use “Auto-Lock” Features
    • Automatically locks the phone after a specified amount of idle time (preferably <10 minutes)
    • In combination with a PIN, it helps to prevent unauthorized access
    • Also helps reduce power drain on the battery
  • Use Secure Network Connections
    • When away from campus, your carrier’s network is best
    • May incur data charges depending on your plan
  • Use VPN software to access USNH/UNH resources
    • Avoid public wireless “hotspots”
    • Minimize use if necessary
  • Use Device Location Features
    • Available in all phones
    • Allows you to locate lost/stolen devices
    • Tape a business card to the back of your device so it can be returned if the battery is discharged
  • Register your devices with the University Police and your insurance company
    • Take photos of your devices with serial numbers for proof of ownership
  • Turn off Wi-Fi & Bluetooth If Not Needed
    • Prevents passive intrusion
    • Saves Power
  • Turn off “Location Services” where appropriate
  • Use Airplane Mode when networks are not needed at all
  • Use Mobile Antivirus Software
    • None offered or supported yet by USNH/UNH
    • Offered by most carriers
    • Any protection is better than none
  • Keep Your Phone Updated
    • Operating System: iOS, Android, Windows Mobile
    • Firmware
    • Security Policies (Mainly Android)
  • Keep Your Applications Updated
    • Provides the latest security & performance updates, and bug fixes
    • Only use reputable sources:
      • Application Stores
        • In-application updating
    • Only Use Legitimate Apps from official and reputable sources:
      • Apple Store
      • Google Play Store
      • Windows Mobile App Store
    • Do not use apps from “hack” or “warez” sites
    • Do not use pirated apps
  • Do Not “Jailbreak” your Phone; “Jailbreaking”:
    • Gives access to dormant or disabled features
    • Defeats and disables internal phone security
    • Often disables power management
    • Voids the warranty with many vendors/carriers
  • Avoid Legally Protected Data
    • USNH institutions possess data protected by:
      • HIPAA
      • FERPA
      • CJIS
      • Other regulatory and business standards
    • Do not travel outside the country with sensitive data on your phone
  • Enhance your Privacy
    • Use “Private Browsing”
    • Activate any “Do Not Track” features available
  • Change your Advertising ID periodically
    • Create and use an alternate email address for registering with vendors
  • Erase Your Phone Before Disposal
    • Before trading in or selling
    • Use the built-in “factory restore” feature
    • Do it with your own hands to ensure safety
  • Report Security Incidents
    • Unauthorized access or hacking
    • Lost or stolen device
    • Change all passwords both personal and university

For more information including detailed instructions on enabling security on mobile devices using iOS, Android and Windows operating systems, contact ISS via our webform at https://itsupport.unh.edu/itsec/ or contact the IT Service Desk at 603-862-4242 or at https://itsupport.unh.edu/help/

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