Choose devices wisely

Some devices have better security features. Use "security" as one of the criteria when choosing a device.

Choose devices that make it easy for you to lock, encrypt, recover, and protect.

Security Features

New models of tablet and smartphone come onto the market all the time.  These web pages  do not keep up to date with the details of this, and cannot advise exactly "which model is best", or what is "good security value for the money".

Instead, we list some useful security features that really do help you to protect information. Choose devices which support these kinds of security feature.

Strong lock codes

Most devices are lockable with  a PIN code or a password. Even a four digit PIN provides an acceptable level of protection as long as you have also set up a remote wipe capability, and activate that soon after your device has gone missing.

Choose a device supporting longer PINs or passwords if you need the added protection against someone making a deliberate effort to take their time to guess it.

Bear in mind that if someone is determined to "hack" into your device, they will first try to observe you unlocking it. Choose a device that makes it easy for you to hide your code when entering it.

Be particularly careful if your device unlocks using a "lock screen pattern".  This is a line that you trace between dots on the screen. It is easy for people to see this pattern as you enter it, so they may know how to unlock your device if they have been watching you. This method of unlocking may also leave a smear trace on the screen that will make it easy for someone to unlock your device. If you use this, wipe away the tell-tale smear pattern every time you unlock it.


If a device supports encryption, it means that someone stealing your device will find it much harder to access information on it.

If your device is not encrypted,  they don't need to guess your PIN to gain access. It is very easy to get information simply by forcing the case open, and taking out the memory part, and connecting it  to another device. Encryption prevents this. It cannot be un-encrypted if it is not in the original device.

Remote wipe

"Remote wipe" allows you to delete all information on a device, even if you have lost it. For example, if you are worried that someone else may try to guess your PIN code to gain access, you can log into a service online, and set your device to automatically delete all information it carries when it next connects to the network .

A remote wipe is service offered by many phone service providers, and by some manufacturers.

The University also provides you with a remote wipe capability. As long as your device is compatible, this is available if you configure the device to use the University Office 365 email service. Check the University Office365 support pages for more information.

On-line "find my device" services

If you lose or misplace your device, it is possible that someone else may find it before you do, and they may have time to guess the PIN and unlock it. Most phone service providers include a "find my device service", as do some manufacturers. You need to configure these to work, by registering on the service provider or manufacturer's web site.

Find my device is also useful whenever you misplace you phone, and you want to make it play a sound so that you can hear where it's hiding.


Choose reasonably new devices that have a track record of security updates. Updates need to be made ready and available whenever a new vulnerability in a device's security is discovered.

Security flaws in old devices, that are no longer able to run the most up-to-date versions of operting software, may never be fixed.