You’re in the library getting some reading or research done. Your stomach has been rumbling for the last twenty minutes. You just want to run to the Jays and grab some chicken tenders before heading back to the library again.
“E-town is safe,” you think, “I’ll only be gone for a minute. No one will take my laptop if I just leave it here. Right?”
No matter how safe you feel, or how much you think you can trust your peers, leaving your devices unattended is dangerous. Devices often contain personal information such as passwords, social security numbers, or contacts. Your first line of defense for keeping your devices safe should always be to keep them where you can protect them. Never leave your devices unattended on purpose.
If you happen to misplace or lose your device, your second line of defense is a password. Password protect your phones, laptops, tablets, and other devices. This prevents thieves from accessing your information if they do get their hands on your device. The best passwords are long, complex, and contain a mixture of numbers, letters, and symbols. Try auto-generating a password for added protection on important accounts or devices. Here is a free random password generator sponsored by Symantec. Norton Symantec also has a free Identity Safe program that monitors and protects all of your passwords for you. For more information on password protection programs and apps, read this Tech Tip on the Password Safe App.
Your third line of defense is a Find my Phone app and remote lock. Find my Phone apps allow you to search for a lost or misplaced device from another device using GPS. To find out more about Find my Phone apps, check out this Tech Tip: Find my Phone. Many Find my Phone apps have a remote lock feature that allows you to lock the device until is has been recovered. Some remote lock features display a number that a good intentioned person can call to return a lost device to its owner. Others simply prevent a user from unlocking or using the device until it is recovered.
A great additional feature to look for on Find my Phone apps, is the option to remote wipe your device. If you have extremely sensitive information, or if the odds of recovering your device are slim, then you can wipe the device remotely by restoring it to factory settings.
Remember to back-up your device regularly to prevent losing information from a lost or stolen device, especially if you have a remote wipe feature enabled.