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Before you start

Secure it

  • Password/PIN on a lockscreen
  • Remote management/tracking options enabled
    • University Exchange accounts require remote wipe capability on devices (when configured as Exchange accounts).
    • On iOS devices you can use Find my iPhone etc if you have registered the device with an iCloud account .
    • Android Device Manager provides a similar service for Android devices.

Know the risk

You should have an idea of what is on the device.

Most of these mobile platforms constitute a collection of personal information which can range from email and contacts through to bank account details.

If you use services such as DropBox, SkyDrive, GoogleDrive, or similar, then copies of the synchronised documents on these services may also be available on the device itself.

This payload extends the value of the device beyond the material cost and the potential exposure to network costs (i.e. especially with respect to talk/data costs).


iOS devices joined to iCloud and/or synced with a computer can be backed up securely. This reduces the potential loss of data to anything accrued on the device since the last backup. It also means it is possible to restore a recent version your iOS environment to a new device.

Other platforms will have similar functionality.


Nightmare scenario


Can you find it?

If you enrolled the device in some form of remote management service, then you may be able to see where it is on a map. This may reveal a misplaced device that can be recovered.

With the Find my iPhone service you can configure a notification to be sent if the device surfaces somewhere -you can also configure it to be wiped.

If the device cannot be recovered:

Report it!

If it is stolen -report it to the police, then…

If it was connected to University systems and contains  material that could be considered valuable or sensitive -report it to your local IT people. Repeat for any other agencies that might want to know about this potential exposure.

You can register an iOS device as stolen through iCloud, which means it will be tracked and reported if it attempts to reconnect to Apple cloud services at any time.

Clear sync sources

It may be possible to disable the devices ability to sync with cloud services you use. You can do this in the University Exchange, and other similar systems -this may allow you to delete material held on the device.

Remote wipe

This is a drastic option, but can render the device useless for any unauthorised user (when paired with the actions below).

Change passwords

For all the accounts held on the device, change your passwords!

Disable network services

The network provider associated with the device (ie. Telecom, Vodafone, 2Degrees, etc) should be able to block access to the 3G/GSM networks -so any unauthorized user is unable to use data or voice services with the device -even if the SIM is changed.

You should do this after everything else, as you need the network services to action remote wipes, etc.


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