Device Encryption Tips

What is encryption?

Encryption is a method of preventing unauthorized access to electronic data. It is used to protect data on devices such as computers, laptops, cellphones, or USB sticks. It can also be used to protect data during transmission. For example, after you enter your credit card details to purchase something online, your computer automatically encrypts that data so that others cannot steal this information when it is transmitted over the internet.

Encryption is imperative for sending sensitive information, securing your documents, keeping your email private and, ultimately, it allows for peace of mind if a computer is misplaced, lost or stolen.

What happens when I encrypt my devices?

Encryption is the process of scrambling information, making it unreadable in order to protect it from unauthorized access. When information is encrypted, you need a password to make it readable again.

Encrypting your desktop computer and mobile devices (including laptops) is the most effective way to keep your personal information and the University’s data secure.

Why should I encrypt my devices?

The University’s policy requires that all mobile devices storing Protected or Restricted information must be encrypted. There is a Mobile Device Encryption project underway to encrypt laptops and tablets that supported by IST. Personal device encryption is also included in the policy, and IST will assist users with implementing the encryption solution typically available for the device.

An effective way to protect your data is to avoid storing it on mobile devices. If you do need to store data on a mobile device be sure to back it up to a file on the University’s network. Security breaches can cause a lot of wasted time, money, and stress, and can harm the university's reputation and the need for compliance requirements. But, in the event that your device is misplaced, lost or stolen, encrypted data will be unreadable without a password. And if it is backed up on the University’s network you will be able to recover the data.

Reminder: even an encrypted device is vulnerable if it does not have proper password protection. Your password should be unique, comply with the University’s Password Policy and if used as an encryption password, comply with the key escrow requirements.

Need encryption information for Laptops and Tablets?

There is a Mobile Device Encryption project underway to encrypt laptops and tablets that supported by IST. Contact the Service Desk if you require assistance in advance of this project.

Need encryption information for iPhone and iPads?

How do I know if my device is encrypted?
iPhones and iPads are not encrypted by default. However, if you password protect the device or use a thumb/finger print to access the device, it is encrypted. 

How do I encrypt?
Turn on a passcode (which can be found under setting, usually in the “Touch ID & Passcode” submenu.)

Need encryption information for other phones and tablets?

How do I know if my device is encrypted?
Android, Windows and BlackBerry phones and tablets are not encrypted by default, so if you are not sure, your device is probably not encrypted.
Having to enter a password to access the device does not guarantee it is encrypted.
Different versions of Android, Windows and Blackberry devices place their encryption settings behind different menus.
You can often see if your device is encrypted under menus such as “System”, “Security” and “Passcode”, and “Encryption”. You can often find device specific instructions by doing an internet search for your device and the word encryption.
How do I encrypt?
In most cases, if you were able to find the menu that told you that your device is encrypted the option to encrypt is in the same location.

Need encryption information for Storage devices (e.g. memory sticks and hard drives)?

How do I know if my device is encrypted?
When storage devices are encrypted, the encryption software used will normally ask for a password when you plug it into your USB port.
How do I encrypt?
You can purchase devices that have encryption installed at the time of purchase, or you can use an encryption service. You can encrypt specific files and folders on USB sticks using freely available encryption tools such as 7zip.

You can request encryption assistance by contacting the Service Desk.

tax phishing image

Information and Resources:

► What is malware or spyware?
► What is spam?
► What is phishing?
► What is the University doing about phishing and spam?
► Where do I report a non-information security incident?







security starts with you

Get relevant and important updates, notices, tips and answers to FAQs by following us on social media:

blog link

facebook link

twitter link

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month - Think Before You Click