UC San Diego SearchMenu

Cybersecurity Awareness

lost cellphone

Find information on featured cybersecurity awareness topics.

Keeping Tabs on Mobile Devices

With an increasing amount of sensitive data being stored on personal devices, the value and mobility of smartphones, tablets and laptops make them appealing and easy targets. These simple tips will help you be prepared in case your mobile device is stolen or misplaced.

  • Encrypt sensitive information. Add a layer of protection to your files by using the built-in encryption tools included on your computer's operating system. Learn about full disk encryption options with BitLocker or FileVault.
  • Secure those devices and backup data. Make sure that you can remotely lock or wipe each mobile device. That also means backing up data on each device in case you need to use the remote wipe function. Backups are advantageous on multiple levels. Not only will you be able to restore the information, but you'll be able to identify and report exactly what information is at risk.
  • Never leave your devices unattended in a public place or office. Even if your devices are out of sight in your car, the chances of theft increase dramatically.
  • Password-protect your devices. Give yourself more time to protect your data and remotely wipe your device if it is lost or stolen by enabling passwords, PINs, fingerprint scans or other forms of authentication. Do not choose options that allow your mobile device or computer to remember your passwords. Use a password manager like LastPass instead.
  • Put that shredder to work. Make sure to shred documents with any personal, medical, financial or other sensitive data before recycling the paper.
  • Be smart about recycling or disposing of old computers and mobile devices. Properly destroy your computer's hard drive. Use the factory reset option on your mobile devices and erase or remove SIM and SD cards. Learn how to sanitize computer equipment.
  • Verify app permissions. Remember to review an app’s specifications and privacy permissions before installing it.
  • Be cautious of public Wi-Fi hot spots. Avoid financial or other sensitive transactions while connected to public Wi-Fi hot spots. In cases when you must use public Wi-Fi, connect to the campus virtual private network (VPN) before starting any transaction.
  • Keep software up to date. If the vendor releases updates for the software operating your device, install them as soon as possible. Doing so will prevent attackers from taking advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities.

What can you do if your laptop or mobile device is lost or stolen? Report the loss or theft to the appropriate authorities. These parties may include representatives from law-enforcement agencies (including UC San Diego Police), as well as hotel or conference staff. If your device contained sensitive institutional or student information, immediately report the loss or theft to your department so that they can act quickly.


Note: this page has a friendly link that is easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/cybersecurity