Secure Your Smart Devices (Smartphones,Tablets,PDAs etc.)

Dear staff and students

The number of smartphones in use globally has more than doubled that of Desktops and in the future,your smart device may be the only computer you have!
The proliferation of smart devices (Smartphones,Tablets and PDAs), has presented many challenges especially on the security front. Many organizations especially in developing regions lack a clear Mobile Device Management Policy and the mechanism required to enforce it. This has resulted into users carrying their own devices to work places and using them to access and perform company related duties (known as unmanaged BOYD (Bring Your Own Device).

With unmanaged BOYD,it's practically impossible for ICT teams to effectively monitor activities of smart devices on their networks which creates a security loophole. Most smartphones today run on the Android platform (mobile operating system) and because of this,most hackers and more than 80% of malware, target Android devices.

Which defensive measures can I take as an end-user to secure my Android Device?

1. Stick to Google Play. It isn’t perfect, but Google does put plenty of effort into preventing malware arriving in the first place, or purging it from the Play Store if it shows up. In contrast, many alternative online markets are a little more than "free-for-all" where app creators can upload anything they want and this can result into malware-embedded apps being uploaded to these markets thereby increasing their potency to infect end-user devices.

2. Download an Android anti-virus from Google Play and avoid downloading and installing apps with a low reputation.If no one knows anything about a new app yet, don’t install it on your phone.

3. Patch early and often (patches are updates,run available operating system updates as some of them would be security updates).

The preventive security measures above ,go along way in protecting your smart device from malicious software and also cut back on potential security risks to the University network that could emanate from poorly managed devices that access university ICT resources.

DICTS already has plans of implementing network access-control for all University ICT services in order to improve their management in terms of security,allocation and planning and this includes mobile device management.However in the meantime,all users are encouraged to religiously follow preventive security measures given above to secure their smartphones.

Mugabi Samuel.

End-User Support Manager DICTS