Tips for Keeping Your Devices Secure

We all live in a connected world where the smartphone in our pocket or the laptop in our bag often contain all the information required to steal an identity, utilize financial resources, and infiltrate secure spaces.   The prevalence of cybercrime and the tenacity of cybercriminals means it is more important than ever to take steps to secure all the devices you use to connect.

ISS recommends taking the following security precautions in order to create a layered defense against the most common threats against your devices and the information they contain.

Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi

Ever. Really. Unless, of course, you are also using a personal VPN (or the UNH VPN when appropriate). 

Use A VPN

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, provides as a secure, encrypted connection from a computing device to the internet. Using a VPN protects you by hiding your device’s IP address and physical location and encrypting your data. 

For more information on VPNs, read Privacy Reclaimed: Use a VPN When Computing at Home or On the Go .

Password Protect Your Devices

Requiring a password to access your device makes it more difficult to gain unauthorized access to any data stored on it.  For mobile devices, enabling auto-lock increases this protection.

Install Anti-Malware Software and Keep it Up to Date

Protect all devices that connect to the internet, including computers, smart phones, and other web-enabled devices by installing anti-virus and anti-malware software and keeping them up to date.

For more information on Anti-virus and Anti-malware options available at UNH, read UNH Campus Virus Protection.

Keep Your Device Up to Date

Having the latest version of all the software and applications you use is the best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats.  This includes your web browser, operating system, mobile device operating system, and anti-malware/anti-virus/security software.  Make sure your devices automatically accept and install operating system updates.  Also, ensure you are accepting updates from third-party applications like Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Flash Player, Java, and Microsoft Office applications as outdated versions contain vulnerabilities that are frequently exploited by cybercriminals.

Back-up Your Device or Rely on Cloud Storage

Regular back-ups of the data stored on your devices to an external storage location like an external hard drive or a cloud service is one of your best protections against ransomware, theft, and other causes of data loss.  Alternatively, you can choose not to store any data on your device and rely solely on cloud services, like Box at UNH, for storage.  Both approaches help protect against device-specific data loss.   

Encrypt Your Devices

Encryption protects the information on your device in the event the device is lost or stolen.  

For more information on encrypting UNH faculty and staff devices, see Enterprise Encryption Services

Avoid Common Malware Delivery Mechanisms

You can help protect your device from malware infection by steering clear of the types of websites and programs commonly used for malware delivery.  For more information on the types of websites and programs to avoid, read Tips to Avoid Malware

Never Leave Devices Unattended

Do not leave portable devices unattended in public spaces.  This reduces the risk of theft, which can result in ramifications well beyond the cost of replacing the device.  It also ensures no one is able to access your device (and the data it contains) without your knowledge or permission.

Enable Remote Wipe on Mobile Devices

Enabling the remote wipe feature on your mobile phone or tablet ensure you have the ability to protect the data on that device if it is lost or stolen. 

Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth When Not in Use

Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you are not using them to present unauthorized wireless access to the device.

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  • Author: UNH Information Security Services
  • Department: Information Security Services
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