Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month! Each week, Information Technology Services (ITS) will be releasing a new article to help our community stay safe online. For more information about this initiative, visit the ITS Cyber Security Awareness Month 2016 page.

Lost your mobile device? Don't lose your identity!

Do you have a smartphone? A tablet? A laptop?

Have you ever stopped to think about how much of your personal information is stored on one or more of these devices? And how many services you access from your device?

Cell phones, tablets, and laptops are home to a virtual library of personal data, from important contacts to private conversations to your personal banking information. And with technology evolving every day, we’re increasingly using mobile devices to perform everyday tasks such as buying items online or even tapping your smartphone at the register to check out instead of using cash or a bank card.

Essentially, you’ve got a backpack-sized - or in some cases, a pocket-sized - digital copy of your life and identity in one device.

Have you made the proper preparations for the loss of a mobile device?

There are some key steps that you can take to protect yourself in case this happens.

  • Enable biometrics (such as facial recognition or fingerprint), a pattern or picture lock, or a hard to crack PIN or password to unlock your device.
  • Make sure your banking information isn’t saved within the app – if your card number and password are saved, that’s easy access to your money.
  • Office 365 users are at a great advantage. Not only are your files saved in OneDrive or OneNote so they can be accessed elsewhere, but, it will eliminate the need to store these files locally on your device, should it be lost or stolen.
  • Using Office 365 or Exchange for your email on your phone may enable you to remotely wipe your phone. For Apple devices, using a service such as Find My Phone also enables you to wipe your phone, if required
  • Ensure your device is encrypted! Queen’s University policy states that computers and devices that contain, or may contain, sensitive data must be encrypted.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever misplaced your phone, tablet or laptop!

Perhaps you’ve left it at a desk in the library or on the seat of your last Uber ride. Have you ever stopped to think that one day a complete stranger could hold all of your personal information in their hands?

This can go one of two ways:

The stranger could be an honest individual and turn your device into the local police station or, if they know you or can locate you, return the device to you. Note: If you send a text from another phone with a message that says, “If found, please call ______,” a Good Samaritan may see the message and actually call!

If they are less than honest, they now hold your device’s fate in their hands. Did you know the loss of an unencrypted device that contains sensitive data is considered a data breach and needs to be reported to security to investigate?

Lost your phone and not sure what to do?

If you are concerned about the information on your lost phone and you’re not sure what to do or you just have questions about how to proactively protect your identity, please contact our IT Support Centre by calling 613.533.6666 or fill in the Online Help Form.


Read Queen’s University’s Chief Information Officer and Associate Vice-Principal (ITS), Bo Wandschneider’s blog, “What is that app scraping and what do ‘they’ know about me.”

Stay tuned for more informative articles as Cyber Security Awareness Month 2016 continues.