Mobile Device Security Support Hub

Are you confident your mobile devices are secure?

If you've just bought a new device, or haven't looked at your security settings for a while, are you sure your devices are secure? You should take some time to make sure you're protected against the latest cyber-threats.

Devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops are getting more secure, but hackers are getting better at attacking them with more sophisticated attack methods.  In an era of mobility, we must have strong on the go security measures in place for our peace of mind.

What is mobile device security?

Mobile device security refers to the security measures taken to protect your private data stored and transmitted on your mobile devices.  It is also the ability to prevent unauthorised users from accessing these devices without your knowledge and consent.

Examples of mobile devices that require this type of protection include:- 

  • Smartphones,

  • Laptops,

  • Tablets,

  • Wearables e.g smartwatch and any other portable devices that require a connection to the internet.

Pocket Guide to Mobile Device Security

A collection of handy hints and tips that you can take to help secure your devices and the data stored on them in the event they are lost or stolen and to prevent them from being hacked. Step by step tutorials on how to configure these security settings are detailed below

Download
Pocket guide to mobile device security V.1 (PDF 1.7 MB)

person holding mobile phone with padlock image on the screenSetup the screen lock on your device

Each time that you turn on your device or wake up the screen, you’ll be asked to unlock your device, usually with a PIN, pattern or password or even your fingerprint.

Set a screen lock on:

Android Device
Apple Device

Create a strong password using three random words

Weak passwords can be hacked in seconds. The longer and more unusual your password is, the stronger it becomes and the harder it is to hack. 

padlock and hidden passwordStarting with your most important accounts (such as email, banking and social media), replace your old passwords with new ones. Just connect three random - but memorable - words together.
 

 Create strong and unique passwords using three random words

The best way to make your password difficult to hack is by using a sequence of three random words you’ll remember - the longer the better. You can make it even stronger by including special characters and numbers.

For Example.
FriendsHippoMaze - Strong Fr1endsH!pp0M@ze – Stronger 

Don’t be fooled that by using symbols on short common words e.g. P@$$W0rd1. Replace your old passwords with new more secure ones.

Save your passwords in your browser

Using the same passwords for all your accounts makes you vulnerable - if that one password is stolen all your accounts can be accessed. It’s good practice to use different passwords for the accounts you care most about. Of course, remembering lots of passwords can be difficult, but if you save them in your browser then you don’t have to.

Browsers are constantly being updating to keep sensitive personal data secure, so store your passwords in your browser when prompted; it’s quick, convenient and much safer than re-using the same password.

How to save passwords in your browser:

Google Chrome
Microsoft Edge 
Firefox 
Safari

Turn on two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a free security feature that gives you an extra layer of protection online and stops cybercriminals getting access to your accounts - even if they have your password.

2FA significantly reduces the risk of being hacked by asking you to provide a second factor of information, such as getting a text or code when you log in, to check you are who you say you are.

Check if the online services and apps you use offer 2FA – it’s also called two-step verification or multi-factor authentication. If they do, Turn it on!  Start with the accounts you care most about such as your email, social media and online shopping.

How to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) for: Email

Gmail 
Yahoo! Mail 
Outlook 
AOL Mail

How to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) for: Social Media

Instagram 
Facebook 
Twitter 
LinkedIn

How to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) for: Banking

Your bank automatically carries out an extra security check if you use online banking, so you don't need to turn this on yourself. However, you should check that your bank has your correct phone number so they're able to text a code to your mobile or call your landline to confirm it's you.

Update your operating system, apps and software

Cybercriminals exploit weaknesses in software and apps to access your sensitive personal data, but providers are continually working to keep you secure by releasing regular updates. These updates fix weaknesses, so criminals can't access your data.

Using the latest versions of software, apps and operating system on your mobile device can immediately improve your security. We strongly encourage you to update regularly or set your phone or tablet to automatically update so you don’t have to think about it.Keypad with enlarged update key

How to turn on automatic updates for:

SOFTWARE
Android - smartphone and tablets (opens in a new tab)
Apple - Mac (opens in a new tab)
Apple - iOS and iPad (opens in a new tab)
Microsoft - Windows 10* (opens your MS settings) 
*Microsoft has stopped support for Windows Mobile and Windows 7 if you are using these platforms you should upgrade to remain secure.

APPS
Google - Android (opens in a new tab)
Apple - iOS (opens in a new tab)

Turn on backup

If your phone, tablet or laptop is hacked, your sensitive personal data could be lost, damaged or stolen. Make sure you keep a copy of all your important information by backing it up. You can choose to back up all your data or only information that is important to you. Do this regularly!

How to turn on automatic back up on your device:

Apple - Mac 
Apple - iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch 
Google devices - Android 
Microsoft - Windows 10 and 8

Review privacy settings

There are two main aspects of privacy that you need to review on your mobile device.

  • Browser privacy settings

  • Application permissions

Browser Privacy

Browsers have features that are in place to promote a better user experience such as log history, use of cookies by 3rd parties to promote other services and gather information on making services better.  However, what can be used for good can also be used for bad.  We would recommend that you review the privacy settings and make an informed choice on what should be on and what should not, depending on your preferences towards security and privacy, balanced with user experience on the sites and services you use.

How to set privacy settings in your browser:

Google Chrome
Microsoft Edge 
Firefox 
Safari (Mac)
Safari (iPhone)

Only download apps from trusted sites.

There are many sites offering the latest apps for your devices. Many of these may be fine but many are not and will have with the app malware that can be used to compromise your device and be used to steal your login information or data. Only download from trusted mobile stores where a rigorous validation of the apps has been undertaken before they are allowed to be provided on these sites.

Trusted app stores:

Google - Android (opens in a new tab)
Apple - iOS (opens in a new tab)

Secure use of public Wi-Fi

When you use public Wi-Fi hotspots (for example in hotels or coffee shops), there is no way to easily find out who controls the hotspot or to prove that it belongs to who you think it does. If you connect to these hotspots, somebody else could access what you're working on whilst connected or your private login details that many apps and web services maintain whilst you're logged on.

Mobile phone with text free wifi on screen

The simplest precaution is not to connect to the Internet using unknown hotspots, and instead use your mobile 3G or 4G mobile network, which will have built-in security. This means you can also use 'tethering' (where your other devices such as laptops share your 3G/4G connection), or a wireless 'dongle' provided by your mobile network.

How to set up a personal mobile hotspot:

Apple (iPhone/iPad)
Google (Android)

If you need to connect to public wifi you should consider using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), a technique that encrypts your data before it is sent across the Internet. you should only use VPNs provided by reputable service providers.

There are two types of VPN service both work in a similar way by providing an encrypted tunnel through the internet to a break out destination.  

A personal VPN is mainly used by individuals to provide an element of privacy and allows you to break out of the internet at a different location across the globe thus providing an element of privacy and there are many companies providing these. The other type of VPN is used mainly for business and allows a secure connection to back to an office location allowing you to secure encrypted access to your business applications.

By using either of these VPN services you defend your data being intercepted by someone acting as a public Wi-Fi.

Find a lost device

Be prepared in case you lose your phone or tablet or smartwatch. You can use Find My Device or Find My (Apple) to locate it. If you are worried about sensitive data on your phone you can also erase it remotely using this service.

How to turn on Find My Device / Find My Phone for:

Android
To find, lock, or erase an Android phone/device, it must:

Be turned on
Be signed in to a Google Account
Be connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi
Be visible on Google Play
Have Location turned on
Have Find My Device turned on

Step by step instructions to turn on Find My Device for Android

Apple (iOS)
Apple user can use the Find My App. After you have set up Find My, you can locate a lost or stolen device or even help a friend find their missing device.

Step by step instructions to turn on Find My Device for Apple

Microsoft Windows 10
Find My Device is a feature that can help you locate your Windows 10 device if it's lost or stolen. To use this feature, sign in to your device with a Microsoft account and make sure you're an administrator on it.

Step by step instructions to turn on Find My Device for Microsoft
 

Resources
Pocket Guide to Mobile Device Security