Securing New Devices

A recent market forecast predicted that the average volume of electronics per person in the Consumer Electronics market will increase to 2.8 pieces in 2022 (Consumer Electronics – US: Statista market forecast). With gift-giving season approaching, you or someone you know will likely receive some tech. Follow the strategies below to keep your shiny new device and its data away from opportunistic thieves.

General Device Security Strategies

Physical Device Security Strategies 

  • Your device was probably expensive and is, therefore, an attractive target for thieves. Keep an eye on your devices.  
  • Secure your device during transport. Carrying a device by hand makes it easier to set down and forget, and phones carried in pockets are easy to steal or lose. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • It may seem smart to stash your devices under your desk or chair to keep them out of sight of thieves but doing so also makes it more likely that you will forget them. A forgotten device is easily picked up by others. If you must put your device on the floor, keep it between your feet so you’re less likely to forget it.  
  • Avoid leaving your device in a locked vehicle. If you must leave your device in your car, be sure it is out of sight (e.g., in the glovebox). 
  • Don’t use your device or other valuables to “save your seat” in any public area. Leaving your device unattended, even for a moment, and even if others are “watching it for you,” leaves it vulnerable to theft. 
  • Faculty and staff planning to travel with their laptops are encouraged to order a loaner laptop through Washington University Information Technology. Loaner laptops are registered on the Travel Registry site and are configured to access Office365, WUSTL Box, and offer remote access to WashU resources. 

Basic Security Features

  • Always use a passcode on all devices. Passcodes prevent others from accessing information and help keep your device secure. 
  • Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for any account it is available. Be sure to download and install the DUO Mobile App for WashU 2FA. 
  • Remember to back up all information on your device so that if it is lost or stolen, you won’t lose your data, too. 
  • Turn on Automatic Updates on your devices. Software updates often contain important security patches. 
  • Use an app that allows you to track your lost or stolen device. 
  • Turn on your screen auto-lock after 2 minutes of inactivity.
  • Show notification previews only when unlocked.
  • Ensure that your devices are encrypted. 

Information Security Strategies by Device Type


  • Consumer Electronics – US: Statista market forecast. Statista. (2022, November). Retrieved December 1, 2022, from