University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Safe U.

Tips for Securing Your Mobile Devices

Did you know?

The University of Minnesota WIFI service supports over 50,000 mobile devices (phones, tablets, and laptops) that access the network over 60,000 times on busy days. With all those mobile devices on the University of Minnesota campusß, it is likely that devices can be lost or stolen. Also, data or content can be stolen by smart hackers looking for easy targets.

Students are particularly attractive to thieves because they assume you will have mobile devices with you. Here are some simple steps you can take to protect your devices and to track them if they become lost or stolen.

Be aware. Be proactive.

  • Your mobile devices are desirable objects for thieves. Act accordingly.
  • The best protection for your device is to keep it physically on your person at all times. Avoid using your devices while walking. Keep them securely inside your bag or jacket and out of sight.
  • Assume that at some point you will lose a mobile device, and plan to protect your identity and increase the chances of finding it.

Back up.

  • Back up your device regularly, using a cloud backup service or separate hard drive.
  • Do not jailbreak or root your device. Jailbreaking or rooting may void your device warranty and expose it to more dangerous malware.
  • Protect your privacy. Think twice before authorizing permissions (e.g., track location, storing credit card or authentication information).
  • Be careful where you download apps. Use a well-known, trusted, secure source (iTunes, Google Play Store, etc.).
  • Keep your apps updated. Check for updates at least once a month.

Use security tools.

  • Set a password on your device.
  • Configure and use security settings provided by your device vendor.
  • Configure and use the anti-theft software that came with your laptop or phone (if any).
  • Install an app that can locate a lost or stolen device. Practice using it so you know what to do if the device is lost or stolen. Mobile phone apps include:
    • For Android
      • Lookout
        Basic is free, premium costs.
      • Plan B
        Locate a lost or stolen phone with no prior setup. Cost: Less than $2.
      • SeekDroid
        Cost: Less than $2.
      • Where’s my Droid
        Lite and full versions are free. Pro version costs.
    • For Android, Windows, Linux, Mac
      • Prey
        Up to four devices is free, more devices cost.
    • For iOS

For more information see Securing Your Mobile Device Apps (PDF) and Five Best Phone Recovery Tools.

If your mobile device is stolen, contact the UMPD at 612-624-COPS or online. If you are concerned about identity theft, see the UMPD advice.