Basic Device Security

Every attempt to gain access to information starts with the simplest possible means. So, you have to have “the basics” consistently covered.

Do the Fundamentals

  • Use a strong passcode or password for mobile phones.
  • Switch on disk encryption on phones, tablets, and computers where possible.
  • Strengthen the security and privacy settings of apps, in particular messaging apps, and switch on PIN or password protection for apps where possible.
  • Protect your computer and user accounts with strong passphrases.
  • Switch off Bluetooth and Near-field-communication when not using them.
  • Turn off location services when not needed.
  • Ensure that important and sensitive data is
    backed up.
  • Use a USB-charge-only dongle to prevent unwanted data-transfers while charging.

Protect your Devices

  • Know where your devices are at all times.
  • Leave them protected in the office or in a hotel room if
    it is safe to do so.
  • Place tamper-evident tape over the USB ports and hard drive cover.
  • Use a security cable (Kensington lock) to protect your computer when you work outside the office.

Avoid Malware

  • Install anti-malware applications and keep them updated.
  • Exercise caution when opening unexpected attachments, and use secure file transfer methods where possible.
  • Update your apps and operating systems and respond to notifications about updates.
  • Download software updates from original download sources regularly.
  • Download apps from trusted repositories like the Google Play Store, F-Droid, or Apple’s App Store only.

Manage your Apps

  • Use a privacy-respecting browser to access social media sites on any device containing sensitive information. Avoid installing social media apps as they often collect sensitive information from your device.
  • Customise the permissions of apps regularly in the device’s settings.
  • Switch off apps that you are not using, and delete those you do not need. They might run in the background and collect user data.


  • Malwarebytes is an anti-malware application which can be used alongside other anti-virus applications, especially when you are confined to using a free version, in order to identify and remedy more types of malicious software.
  • TeamDrive and SpiderOak provide for online backups and synchronisation with end-to-end encryption and a zero-knowledge policy, meaning that the companies can not access the data stored by users on their servers.
  • You can use services such as VirusTotal to scan e-mail attachments which you consider to be suspicious.
  • F-Droid is a repository of Free and Open Source Android Applications.

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Date of Last Update: 31-12-2019