When it comes to secure smartphones, experience is a persuasive teacher
Updated May 10
Why put a password on your smartphone? A few real-life reasons from your colleagues at UC Davis offer some answers:
- "My phone fell out of my pocket on the train. When I got home, I called it, and some guy answered, 'Yeah, I just found your phone. What will you pay me to give it back?' I immediately changed all my passwords. It convinced me from then on to always lock my phone."
- "I've left my iPod behind on a gym machine before, and it got me thinking, if I ever leave my phone like that, they'd have access to everything. So, I did it. I put a PIN [personal identification number] on my phone."
- "My boyfriend got into my iPhone and created an autocorrect so that every time I texted a certain word, it changed into another word, a really stupid one. A PIN took care of that problem."
Many phones get lost, stolen, or misused even when found by people who might otherwise mean well. Using a password keeps you in control of data on your phone, even if something happens to the phone itself.
To help spread the word that passwords on smartphones are a good idea, Information and Educational Technology is conducting a "Be Smart About Your Smartphone" campaign this spring. The campaign team asked people to recall times when they regretted not having a password on their smartphones, and adapted several answers for use in four colorful posters.
The posters have been displayed throughout campus, and can be downloaded from the Be Smart About Your Smartphone website. The site contains other information as well, including links to instructions on how to set passwords, timeouts and other basic safety measures on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices.
The campaign even offers a small reward to people who have passwords, or agree to install one: a free erasable highlighter, until the supply runs out.
Read more at the website. A Facebook page has information about table events where you can pick up a highlighter--the next event is Wednesday, May 23, at lunch during the Farmers Market at the Silo. If you have your own examples of times you were glad you had a password on your smartphone, come by and share your story.
Meanwhile, here are two more stories from your colleagues at UC Davis. One of irritation:
- "At a party, some friends picked up my phone, put a PIN on it and wouldn't tell me what it was. I couldn't use my phone until they told me. They thought it was hilarious. I have my own PIN on my phone now."
And one about the consolation of smart precaution:
- "My iPod Touch was stolen, but I had a PIN on it. I had also set it to erase all the data after 10 failed login attempts. I was still mad that it was stolen, but at least I didn't have to change all my passwords or explain awkward emails to friends or anything like that."
Most viewed stories
New 'clickers' recommended for UC Davis faculty, students (June 29, 2012)
Other IET publications
TechNews, produced by Information and Educational Technology, is a free online source of news and information about technology at UC Davis.