Physical Security

Ensuring the physical security of your computer, laptop, cell phone and other mobile devices will help keep your private information - and sensitive data you might oversee - out of danger.

Best practices

  • Use a strong password or PIN
  • Set up automatic screen locking and get into the habit of locking your screen when you step away
  • Never leave mobile devices unattended
  • Don’t store sensitive data on computers or mobile devices
  • If you see something unusual, say something

A password or PIN could be the only thing protecting a stranger from getting to your email, social media, or even your bank account. Always set up computer and device passwords and follow good password practices.

It may seem harmless to step away from your workstation without locking the screen, but it only takes a moment for someone to see something they shouldn’t, get into your files and applications, or even install malicious software that records everything you do.

On campus, OIT-managed computers will automatically logout after fifteen minutes of activity, but you can set your Windows and Apple computers to log out sooner than that for added safety.

Windows users can press Windows + L to lock your screen at any time, and Mac users can quickly activate their lock screen in the latest version of Mac OS. It's a great habit to get into doing anytime you walk away from your workstation.

Unattended = Unprotected

If you want to avoid the worry of a stolen device, keep your laptop or mobile device with you at all times or lock it somewhere safe.

Unattended devices account for a large number of thefts at UNLV, and a stolen device can quickly become a security nightmare for you.

Phone tracking apps, like Apple’s Find My iPhone or Android’s Device Manager, can help recover your device if it’s lost or stolen. However, these services don’t always work (e.g., if your device is turned off or the battery is dead), so it’s a good idea to register your laptop with UNLV Police Services too, just in case.

It’s your responsibility to protect the sensitive data, like student grades, that you are able to access. If you keep sensitive information on a laptop, mobile device, or even a desktop, it can fall into the wrong hands. The best place to store sensitive university data is on OIT’s File Services, where it is protected and backed up regularly by enterprise-level systems, but still accessible from on and off campus.