Device and data security

Staff and students access university systems using laptops, tablets and smartphones daily. It is essential to keep these devices secure as they often contain information vital to the University’s teaching, learning and research initiatives.

Unauthorised access can occur when devices are stolen or lost and can leave you and the university vulnerable to information and data theft.

Avoid leaving the following devices and items unattended.

  • PC
  • Laptops and tablets
  • Mobile phones
  • USB sticks and portable hard drives
  • Student cards

Avoid downloading sensitivity data to portable devices, especially USB sticks and portable drives unless encrypted or approved by the relevant data owner.

Please report any lost or stolen devices to IT as soon as possible to minimise data loss or inappropriate use of personal information and university data.

University Devices

University devices are required tools for working and studying containing essential emails, files, passwords and personal information. It is essential to take steps to protect these devices at all times.

Physically secure your devices.

  • Log off your workstation
  • Check your PC for any unknown devices connected
  • Avoid leaving mobile and portable devices in cars
  • Travel with a case or protective sleeve to minimise possible damage in transit

Smart Phones and Tablets

A device we take everywhere; we feel our phone holds our whole life in the palm of our hand. Remember to take the same precautions for your mobile phone and tablet as you do on your computer to keep our information safe.

Try the following practices to keep your device secure:

  • Don’t store anything you're not willing to lose or share on a mobile device
  • Password protect your mobile with a complex passcode (6 digits), pattern or password
  • Set a lockout period for inactivity
  • Don’t store other account passwords on your device unless encrypted
  • Keep your operating system up to date with the latest updates and patches
  • Do not jailbreak your phone as this removes security features and the ability to apply security updates.
  • Activate any security features such as firewalls available on your device
  • Be suspicious of links in text messages or emails.
  • Avoid settings autocomplete for forms and online applications

Make the following adjustments to your devices network settings:

  • Turn off GPS and Location services
  • Set your device to prompt before joining new networks
  • Remove any old and previously used wireless profiles that are no longer required
  • Configure your browsers to block pop-ups
  • Avoid conducting business on your device when connected to public or unsecured networks

Remember to perform a factory reset and delete all contents before discarding, exchanging, selling or donating your device.

USB and Portable Hard Drive Security

Data storage is convenient now with the help of USBs and Portable drives; you can carry 1TB of information in your pocket. It is crucial to protect these devices and the data they contain as they can be easily lost, stolen or become corrupt.

What can you do to keep your data secure and minimise the risk of theft or damage:

  • Buy two portable drives
    Purchasing two drives; one for everyday use and one for the backup helps you restore faster if your drive becomes corrupt or missing.
  • Use encryption software
    Install encryption software on your device, so your data becomes gibberish without the right password or PIN. Some drives come with software already installed from the manufacturer.
  • Use a case or bumpers
    Some portable drives contain moving parts that can dislodge or break if the drive is mishandled, leading to data loss or corruption. Use a travel case or bumpers on your drive to prevent damage from daily travel.
  • Compatible with Mac and Microsoft
    Before purchasing your drives, decide if you are connecting to multiple operating systems. Operating systems use different file formats, USBs and portable drives do not function when trying to read different formats. If in doubt, buy a drive that supports both.
  • Virus and Malware Scan
    Scan your drives frequently for malware or viruses, especially if you have connected the device to a public machine or returned from an overseas trip. Sophos installed on university machines scan any portable drive and remove potentially infected files.
  • Attach your USB
    Attach your USB to your keys or a lanyard to keep it on you while on campus. We keep our keys secure at all times; add your USB to do the same.
  • Delete when done
    If you need to transfer data using a portable drive, you should delete its contents after transferring it to a new location. Keep all unnecessary data off portable drives and format the disk regularly.

It is recommended to keep all university data on network drives to prevent unwanted access and use. We know that sometimes-portable drives are required to transfer or share data; keep the above tips in mind to minimise the risk of theft or damage.

ID Card Security

Your ID card allows access to buildings and printers; it is important to keep your card on you while on-campus. They assist with identification, printer management, building access and provide an extra layer of security to our university and its systems.

With its importance for security, purposes take the following steps to minimise your card from being lost or misused.

  • Wear on a retractable reel or lanyard when walking around campus
  • Store your ID card in a safe place when not in use
  • Keep your card in good condition (replace if needed)
  • Collect your new year sticker from Student Administration
  • Apply a random code to your card (avoid 1234 or 1111)
  • Don’t leave your card in a communal area

If you have lost your card, please contact IT as soon as possible to remove the lost card from your account. After your card is removed from the system, visit Student Administration to have your card reprinted. Register your new card to enable access to campus buildings and printers.

Note: Please discard any found cards if a new ID has is printed. The system automatically uses the newest card for access to university facilities.

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