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ITS Safe Computing

Secure and Manage Your Android Phone/Tablet

If you are permitted to access or maintain sensitive institutional data using your mobile device, please meet the minimum expectations below.

See Your Responsibilities for Protecting University Data When Using Your Own Devices for a complete list of your responsibilities when using your own devices to work with sensitive U-M data.

By meeting the minimum expectations below, you also protect your personal data.

Minimum Expectations for a Secure Device


What to Do How Why
Require a password, PIN, or passcode for access Look under security settings*. This prevents others from using your device by requiring the passcode to unlock it.
Set the screen lock to auto lock after 15 or fewer minutes of inactivity. Look under security settings.* This, in conjunction with your password/PIN/passcode, protects your device from unauthorized use and helps conserve battery power.
Turn on data encryption You will need to set a password/PIN/passcode when you enable this setting.* Prevents others from accessing the data on your device.
Install and use a device tracking app Google offers the Android Device Manager (log in to My Devices using your @umich.edu address). Commercial applications include Lookout Security and Antivirus, Where's My Droid, SeekDroid AntiTheft & Security, Cerberus anti theft, and Android Lost. Such an app will help you track or remotely erase your device if it is lost or stolen.

*Settings on Android devices vary depending on the device manufacturer and the version of the Android operating system you are using. Consult the online or printed documentation for your device or search an online help forum such as Android OS Help or androidcentral.com for specific instructions.


What to Do How Why
Use a secure network connection Your cellular carrier network is the best choice. Use your cellular carrier network and turn off wireless when you are not using it. If you use a wireless connection, make sure it is a secure wireless network, such as MWireless. To prevent unauthorized access to the information you send and receive across networks.
When not using WiFi and Bluetooth, turn them off Check your device's documentation for instructions. This prevents unauthorized access to your device through those connections.


What to Do How Why
Keep your Android firmware updated Check your device's documentation for instructions. Get the latest security updates and improvements.
Keep your apps updated Check your device's documentation for instructions. Get the latest security updates and improvements.
Only install trusted market apps, such as Google play apps
  • Do not install apps from other sources unless required for your university work and approved by your department.
  • Do not download apps offered to you via email, text messages, or web links.
  • Do not install apps offered on pop-ups from third-party websites.
To avoid installing malware that may be hiding in untrusted apps.
Do not make unauthorized modiications to your operating system Do not unlock or otherwise bypass device security features that prevent you from gaining privileged control (or "root access") to your device's Android operating system. (This hacking process is often called "rooting.") You may do this only if it is required for your university work. See Wikipedia's Rooting (Android OS) for more information about the dangers of doing this.
Be aware of where data is being stored and store sensitive university data only in approved locations. Check the Sensitive Data Guide for services approved for use with sensitive data. Regulations and policy regarding sensitive university data specify that such data may only be stored and shared using approved services that meet requirements for the specific data type.
If you travel outside of the U.S., be aware certain types of sensitive data cannot be accessed or maintained outside the country See the Sensitive Data Guide for details. There are legal restrictions on certain sensitive data types (such as Export Control, HIPAA, and FISMA).
Before you sell or give away your device, back it up then erase all content and settings Look for the backup, erase, reset, or wipe setting. Prevent others from accessing your data.
Report security incidents If you use your device to maintain or access sensitive institutional data and it is lost or stolen, notify the ITS Service Center. It is your responsibility.
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Additional Best Practices

Consider these additional options for enhanced security for your device and the data maintained on or accessed from it.

  • Turn off GPS/Location Access for apps when you do not need it.
  • Set your web browser for private browsing. In Chrome, open the Chrome menu and look for the advanced privacy settings.
  • Turn on airplane mode when you do not need to use your phone, GPS, radio, WiFi, or Bluetooth. Look for the airplane, offline, flight, or standalone mode setting.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Protect yourself online. Learn about strong passwords, how to protect your identity, how to avoid phishing scams, and more.
  • Put a sticker on your computer with your name and contact information. This low-tech, practical step enables somebody to contact you if they find your lost computer.
  • Register your devices. The U-M Police Department offers a free laptop and personal electronics registration program to members of the U-M community to deter theft and assist in the recovery of stolen property.
  • Traveling with technology. Take precautions when you are away from home to protect your privacy and the university's sensitive data.
  • Consider using mobile anti-virus products, but understand that these are relatively new on the market and are still maturing.
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