Service efficiency
Jul 20, 2022

Protect mobile devices and tablets

One essential element of any sound cyber security strategy is securing your mobile devices and tablets. This may sound daunting, but there are a few simple and easy steps you can take to protect your devices and the information on them. And best of all, they are completely free!

Lock your screen

One of the simplest, yet often overlooked security measures is using some form of password protection to lock your phone. Most phones today offer a variety of lock options, such as passwords, PINs, patterns or biometric locks such as face and fingerprint recognition. Of course, using a password or PIN only helps if you make it complex enough that it is not easily guessed (stay away from 0000 or 123456). Here’s some guidance on how to create strong passwords.

Keep your device’s operating system up to date

Make sure to always update your device. Manufacturers will release regular updates of their operating systems (e.g. Windows, Android, iOS) that’ll fix known security gaps or loop holes and will increase the security of your device. Ideally, adjust the settings of your device so that it updates itself automatically. This usually only takes a few minutes and most devices will schedule their updates for times that you don’t typically use the device, e.g. for 2am.  

When your device has reached the end of its supported life, updates will unfortunately no longer be possible and the risk of security breaches will increase. At this point, you should seriously consider replacing the device with a more modern alternative.

Keep your apps up to date

Similar to your operating system, you should also make sure that you regularly update the applications you have installed on your device. Just like the manufacturers of your device, the developers of these apps will patch security gaps and release those fixes with the newest version of their app.

Beware of unknown WiFi

Don’t connect to public WiFi hotspots, e.g. in cafes or hotels. You don’t know who’s operating them (WiFi names can easily be faked) and they might not be who you think they are. If you're connected to  WiFi from an unknown source, someone might easily access what you’re working on or copy your private log-in details.  

The easiest way to prevent this is by not connecting to hotspots you don’t know and that aren’t password-protected. Use your mobile data instead, as your 3G, 4G or 5G network has security features built in to prevent these attacks. This means you can also create your own, private hotspot for devices that may not have immediate access to your mobile network.

Alternatively, you could also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) as they encrypt your data before sending it across the Internet.

Enable lost device tracking

Nobody intentionally loses their devices, but sadly it's a reality that people lose their phones and tablets or even get them stolen. And often this happens when you're not at home or at work. To prevent unauthorised people gaining access to your data, you should enable your device’s lost device tracking. Most modern devices include a free web-based tool (e.g. Find My on Apple, Find My Device on Android or Find My Mobile on Samsung) that allows you to track the location of your device.

With these tools you can usually also remotely lock access to your device and erase the data stored on it to prevent anybody else from using it.

If you’re a care provider who provides the devices your carers use, you can also use mobile device management services to manage the security aspects of your devices.

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