Surrey IT’s Guide to Smartphone Security and Backup

When it comes to smartphones, the ability to talk to people seems quite unremarkable these days. Modern mobiles are portable computing powerhouses that allow us to do more than the laptops of only a few years back could dream of. Like our computers though, these functions can be preyed upon by bad folk after your personal data to ultimately make a bit of money off your misfortune. Happily, there are things you can do to guard against this and reduce the impact should something happen.


We love our phones, but do we do enough to protect them?

This post looks at some of the precautions available to owners of IOS (Apple) and Android devices from setting a simple lock to keep prying fingers out, to remotely looking up the devices location on a map.

Set a Phone Lock

Every phone has the ability to set a pin-code or password. Some have more fancy features like fingerprint readers, or facial recognition. The important thing is that one of them is enabled, so that if your phone goes missing, there is a barrier between others and your data. When setting a code, you usually also set the phone to auto-lock after a set amount of time, which is highly recommended.

University Webmail Tool – Remote Wipe

In the event of a permanently lost phone, the Surrey 365 email web service includes the ability to remote wipe your phone. Do note this is a total wipe, so do read further and make sure you keep a backup of all your data. Dependent on device type and operating system, this may also include any information contained on any storage card currently inserted in the device.

Requesting a remote wipe on your behalf by University IT

In exceptional circumstances University IT may be able to initiate a Remote Wipe on your behalf if you have no current internet access. You should contact us by telephoning (01483 689898), requesting a ‘Mobile Device Remote Wipe’ and stating your reason for wanting this.

Using University Email to Remote Wipe Your Phone Yourself

If you have your work email set up on your phone, it is possible to use University webmail to wipe your phone without having to contact IT Services. Again, remember this is a total wipe to factory settings, so make sure you really want to take this option before proceeding.

Login to Surrey365 at

  • Click on the settings ‘cog’ icon at the top right of the screen.
  • In the left Options column, choose Phone
  • You’ll see a list of the phones registered against your account.
  • Highlight the phone of your choice
  • Press the Wipe Device icon and follow the instructions.
  • Next time the lost phone connects to a network, it will receive the instructions and reset.

iPhone / IOS

Like computers, phones can suffer from viruses and malicious software. iPhone owners can relax a little more than Android owners, as Apple’s close curation of the App Store and relatively locked down operating system mean that little can get through, however that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pay to be wary and take a few precautions.


It’s well worth keeping up to date with the latest version of the software, both the operating system and your apps. This will keep the phone running at its best and keep the security loopholes closed.

IOS Update

To check you’re running the latest version of the operating system:


Press Settings >> General >> Update

Follow the instructions if the prompt tells you an update is available.

App Update

To check your apps are up to date:

Tap on App Store, then at the bottom-right – Updates. You can update the whole list at the press of one button here.


If your phone were to get lost or stolen, it’s likely that you’ll be able to replace the hardware easily enough, but without a backup of your data, precious information could be lost forever. Luckily, Apple’s IOS after version 6 makes backing up relatively easy. If you run your work email on your iPhone or iPad, don’t worry, we’re backing this up for you, but you’ll need to look after everything else.

Apps / Email / Settings

Apple’s iCloud Service gives you 5GB of free online storage, which allows you to automate the backup of your app data and account information. App data is down to the support of the individual app developer, but very few ignore this essential function now. Restoring your data is as simple as logging into your device (or a new one) with your Apple ID and pressing the restore button.

iCloud Setup

  • Tap Settings >> iCloud
  • Tap Account and fill in your Apple ID information.

Underneath you can now use the switches to enable or disable the backup of the various functions built into your device.


Dropbox automatically shares your files across all your devices

Dropbox automatically shares your files across all your devices

Whilst Apple’s Photostream service does provide a basic layer of backup for photos, we would strongly recommend the use of Dropbox to backup your precious memories. Dropbox is an app which is available across most computers. A free account comes with 2GB of online storage and the iPhone/iPad app comes with the ability to enable ‘Camera Upload’, which automatically sends your photos to your account ensuring their safety. Install Dropbox on your computer and within moments, you’ll have a copy there too! Much more fun than mere backup.

Lost or Stolen Phone

Find My iPhone

Whilst Apple devices are much less vulnerable to computer viruses, they’re much more desirable to the thieves because of their high second hand value. Even if you take every precaution, it is possible that one day you’ll lose your beloved gadget forever. Or … perhaps not. iPhone lets you turn detective.

The imagination of early James Bond movies is now a reality. Track down that missing phone.

The imagination of early James Bond movies is now a reality.

With a little bit of set-up, your phone can tell you where it is, display messages to it’s new ‘owner’ and be told to wipe, at least securing your data from falling into the wrong hands.

Setting Up Find-My-iPhone

On your iPad or iPhone:

  • Tap Settings >> iCloud
  • Check that Find My iPhone/iPad is enabled
  • If you have another iDevice, do the same and install the Find My iPhone app from the app store.
  • With this app you can remote control a lost device using Play a Sound, Lost Mode (set a new pin and lock the phone) and Erase Device (for when there is no hope). You can also find the phone on a map!
  • If you only have the one idevice, use the website to perform the same remote controls.

Android SmartPhones

Android. Often cheaper than an iPhone, but falling for a scam could cost you.

Android. Often cheaper than an iPhone, but falling for a scam could cost you.

Android owners are used to much more freedom in how they choose to use their devices, but careless users may find this comes at a cost. The relatively open platform that Android is based on means that pretty much anyone can develop for it and unfortunately not all those people are good. As the BBC recently pointed out, as much as 80% of the malicious software infecting mobile phones is running on Android.

Careful owners however can take a few simple precautions and continue to enjoy their gadgets in safety.


Different Manufacturers put different levels of effort into keeping Android phones upto date. All but the earliest versions automatically pull updates ‘over the air’ – so all we can advise is that you accept the updates when they come through.



When it comes to apps, Android updates come in thick and fast. Those who prefer to keep things simple can choose to have all updates from the Google Play App Store install automatically. To enable this, launch Google Play and then find ‘My Apps‘. You’ll see a list of all your installed apps and from here, you need to find the settings button. In settings, enable auto-update apps and, if you have a limited data contract, consider setting the updates to install via WIFI only.


Like Apple, your Google account can link you to a cloud based backup service where most phones can be backed up for free. Not everything will be backed up, that’s down to the app developers, but it’s worth enabling just the same. Work email is backed up for you, as are web based email services like Gmail, Yahoo Mail and so on. Keeping your contacts within those same accounts ensures that should you lose the phone, the contacts are not lost. This was something that caused great pain back when they would be held on your SIM card, but that’s now easily avoided.

Enabling backup is as simple as going to your phone’s settings, tapping ‘Backup and Restore‘ and tapping the ‘Backup this phone’ option. The Google account you registered the phone with will host the backup data online.


Like for the iPhone, we recommend installing Dropbox and taking advantage of the free 2GB storage to automatically backup any photos that you take. Install dropbox on your other devices and those pictures will automatically be available to you wherever you are. Dropbox will give you another 500MB storage for free, just for enabling the Camera Upload function.

Malicious Software

AVG- Free and essential

AVG- Free and essential

We didn’t have to talk about this for iPhones, but it’s a case of better safe than sorry for Android. If you don’t download anything from anywhere except Google Play, then the chances of picking up malicious software are more limited. However, even Google Play has not escaped some nasty apps being listed, so we recommend you install the AVG Free app, which not only protects you from app nasties, but offers several additional useful functions too. When it comes to phones, there are several ways for malicious people and code to get in, so AVG will scan your phone, apps and text messages for viruses or links to known problem websites. It will monitor your web-surfing and includes a call blocker to stop the bother from repeat cold-callers. A Pro (paid-for) version also adds the ability to backup your apps and have the phone send you a picture of the user via email should the phone fall into the wrong hands (for example when they start trying to work out your pin).

Better Safe

None of these measures can prevent the pain of losing a phone. We depend on them a lot, they’re expensive, but relatively fragile and dainty against what we put them through. Really what’s important though is the stuff you keep on it and taking these precautions should mean that you get to keep all that for the next phone and no one else gets to invade your privacy.


Any free lab computers?

University IT manages over a thousand student lab PCs, and we want to make it easier for all Surrey students to find one when they need to do some work.

If you’ve visited the Library in the past year you will have seen the screens displaying live information about the number of PCs available in the various computer rooms in the building. This summer we’re expanding this and will be rolling out a service where you can see the usage of all of the student labs across campus from anywhere.

IMG_0965 - Copy

In addition to being displayed on the screens in the library you will now be able to see if there’s any spare computers from anywhere you have a network connection- so if you’re sat by the lake with your mobile phone you can check whether AP Lab 2 is busy. If you’re sat in your campus room on your ResNet connected laptop and want to check if the Maths Drop in Lab is occupied, no problem. You can even sit on the beach in Antigua laughing at how busy the LRC Level 2 Open Area is when you’re on holiday*.

Screenshot (23)

This service is currently under development, but will be live by the start of the autumn term.

*subject to having suitable Wi-Fi or mobile network coverage on the beach. Oh, and you have to get yourself there, we’re not offering anyone a free holiday here.

Network Service Outage

As you will be aware we experienced a serious disruption to network services at approximately 11:20 this morning. Though service has been restored, please be advised that network services remain at risk.

Members of University IT are continuing to work with specialist network providers to understand what caused this disruption. Further work to address any underlying issues has been scheduled to take place at 18:00hrs this evening.

If you have any outstanding concerns please contact User Support on 01483 689898 or via email Updates will also be provided on Twitter and Facebook

Better learning & teaching spaces for you

Over the last 12 months, University IT has been busy upgrading Audio Visual systems in a number of learning & teaching spaces across campus.

Some of the latest areas to be updated include 07AZ01 and 12 rooms within the Duke of Kent Building. The newly installed systems have been developed by IT with input from AV consultants, users and representatives from University departments with a focus on maximizing the end user experience.

The new systems deliver improved usage quality and increased functionality including Blu-ray playback, HDMI connectivity and a digital overhead projector. Over time, we will aim to deliver these standard systems to all learning & teaching spaces to ultimately enhance your learning experience.  desk

Thank you for your feedback! It helps us to see what we’re doing right & where we need to improve

Last year, your feedback highlighted a need for more IT Support. IT Support it’s now a call away. From November 2012, 24/7 telephone IT support is available as well as extended IT Help Desk opening hours.

To support your learning, there is now 24/7 access to OpenLab for FBEL students, iMac teaching lab for Arts Production students and Matlab and GraphPad Prism as site licensed software for all students.

SM Poster 20130204SM Poster 2 20130204

Top 8 student money saving sites to visit when buying a computer, software and IT accessories

While you are at University, chances are that you will be on a tight budget. Looking after your money and ways to save your pennies will be of paramount importance. With this in mind, we’ve put together the top 8 sites with student deals that will save you money when buying a desktop, laptop, tablet, software and IT accessories.

Apple Store for Education

Special discounted pricing on Apple computers, software and selected third party products:

The Dell Computing Initiative

Special student prices on a range of desktops, laptops, software and accessories:

Student Store

The portal provides you with direct access to the wide range of laptops, software, accessories and enhanced warranty services:

Surrey Site License Scheme

Free software for use on your own computer during your stay at the University:

Microsoft Store

Get exclusive discounts on Microsoft software:


Software deals and discounts for students in the UK:

Adobe Education Store

Save up to 80% on Adobe products:

Viglen Student Store

Wide range of software and accessories at discounted prices:

ResNet Wi-Fi

From 12pm on the 7th December, University IT will be taking pre-orders for the brand new ResNet Wi-Fi Access kits, which will give you wireless access in your room.

For just £15, you will be able to connect to the internet ALL your devices including laptops, smartphones, tablets and games consoles via secure wireless. You will have to buy the device but it is yours when you leave accommodation.

With ResNet Wi-Fi you won’t need to run the security scan on your computer, which is a requirement to access ResNet Wired.
The first 500 ResNet Wi-Fi Access kits will be available to pre-order via the University’s Online Store: on a first-come, first-served basis and you will be able to collect your kit in the New Year.Features of both, ResNet Wi-Fi and ResNet Wired, are available on the ResNet website: Wi-Fi image of poster

ResNet Wi-Fi – Coming Soon!

From early December, University IT will be taking pre-orders for the brand new ResNet Wi-Fi Access kits, which will give you wireless access in your room.

For just £15, connect to the internet all your devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and games consoles via secure wireless.

The first 500 ResNet Wi-Fi Access kits will be available to pre-order via the University’s Online Store on a first-come, first-served basis and you will be able to collect your kit in the New Year. Further details to follow next week but in the meantime you can take a look at the ResNet Wired and Wi-Fi comparison chart here.

Look out for our posters about ResNet Wi-Fi, which will be displayed in Courts very soon.

24/7 Telephone IT support

The University IT Support team is committed to provide IT support when you might need it. With this is mind, an out of hours telephone support service is now available via an external, UK based IT support company.

Outside the IT Help Desk opening hours, users can now get phone support on common issues such as SurreyLearn, Surrey365, Printing and IT Account access from 5pm to 8am Monday to Friday and 24 hours Saturday and Sunday by phoning IT User Support on  01483 689898.

New iMac lab for Arts Production students

Over the summer, the Faculty of Arts & Human sciences invested in a new Apple lab for Arts Production students. The FAHS IT team set up the Nodus lab, which consists of 5 27” iMacs running a range of specialist software.

This facility will help students to understand the construction of sound effects, write musical content, correct and capture footage and pictures, manipulate and master video and practice queuing in a virtual performance environment.