Devices such as smartphones and tablets are mobile computers and so, are exposed to the same virus and malware risks as computers. You should take care to ensure that you only install software from trusted developers, hosted on trusted app stores (e.g. Google Play, Windows Store & App Store).

These devices are also an attractive target for thieves so keep your personal belongings safe. If you do lose your device or are the victim of theft, there are steps you can take to protect your information.

If you connect smartphone or tablet to the Imperial College London network or use one to access College systems and data, whether personal or College-owned, you are responsible for following the policy and keeping data secure. If you are a member of staff using your personal device for College business, you are fully responsible for ensuring the security of that information and you may be breaching College's Information Systems Security Policies.

Information on how to protect mobile devices


All portable devices (laptops, mobiles and tablets) have the option to prevent unauthorised access by setting a PIN or password, so ensure that you make use of this function. Many devices allow you to set up an automatic screen lock after a period of inactivity. Check the manufacturer's instructions for more information or contact the ICT Service Desk for advice.

Back up

Back up your important information, including contacts and appointments, somewhere safe. This can easily be done using the cloud (iCloud, Google Drive etc.) or by plugging your phone in to your computer and backing it up. More information can be found by visiting your device manufacturers website. 

Encrypting data makes the information unreadable unless the viewer uses a secret key to unlock it, called decryption. Data encryption can be applied to both stored data, on computer drives or USB storage devices) and data being transferred via networks. If you store data, emails or photos on your portable device then you should encrypt the information to protect it. If the device is also protected with a PIN or password, encryption will further reduce the risk of your data is subject to unauthorised access. Check the manufacturer's instructions for more information to encrypt your mobile device. 

For more information on encryption, visit our Encrypt and protect your data webpages. 

If your Staff mobile has been stolen, visit the Staff mobiles web page for more information. 

If your personal device has been stolen, you will need to contact the Police. 

If the theft occurred on campus, report the theft to Imperial College London security: Security control room.

Most mobile devices allow you to track, alert (ring) or wipe your device remotely.

Options by operating system


Use the Android Device Manager.


Find my iPhone will wipe data and enable an activation lock that will prevent the device from being reused.

Windows Phone

Follow the Windows Phone instructions.

If your device is lost or stolen, it may be possible to wipe your data to stop someone else accessing your contacts, emails or other data that may be sensitive using the instructions found on the wipe a mobile device remotely using College's Active Sync web page. 

If you use a portable or mobile device, whether personal or Imperial-owned, to connect to the College network and access College systems and data, you are personally responsible for the following policy and keeping data secure. No sensitive data should be stored on a mobile or portable device unless it is encrypted.

When processing patient or other NHS Trust data, it should be noted that Hospital Trusts each have policies regarding the use of portable or mobile devices for storing and processing data. You must ensure you comply with the relevant Trust policy when processing any data owned by a Trust on a device.

Read the Information Systems Security Policies for more information.