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The Catalyst

Cyber Awareness Month: Security for mobile devices

By Melanie Richardson
OCIO Communications

Mobile devices are widely used by faculty, staff, students and other individuals to access a variety of MUSC systems that contain sensitive data. While mobile access can provide valuable benefits, there is a significant risk of unauthorized access to sensitive MUSC data if the device is ever lost or stolen.  It is estimated that about 35 percent of people in the U.S. have lost a mobile device at one time or another.

To help in this regard, MUSC has implemented two security initiatives, 2Factor Authentication and Mobile Device Management.

2Factor Authentication works by calling your phone to verify that you are actually trying to log into a MUSC system such as email, VPN or Webapps.

If you get a call from MUSC asking you to confirm a log in, but you are not actually trying to log in to an MUSC system – do not press pound. Pressing pound will let the hacker in, and the consequences can be serious.  

If you are on campus and receive a 2Factor call, that means someone else is trying to hack into your account.  Do not press pound. Pressing pound will let the hacker in, and the consequences can be serious.

MDM (Mobile Device Management)
Mobile Device Management forces a passcode lock on your device and provides a way to wipe all MUSC data from a device if it is ever lost or stolen. MDM is required for any device that accesses MUSC email.

For more information, visit or any of the Information Security Awareness Pledge Centers around campus.  At the centers, you can sign a pledge promising to follow good security practices. Pledge names will be entered into a drawing for two iPad Air tablets, 25 — $20 gift cards and 50 — $10 gift cards to MUHA cafeteria and Starbucks.


Foreign Travel tips for your smart phones:

There are often unexpected situations when traveling abroad, even to places as near as Canada and Mexico.  There may be problems finding network access, using your phone to access your e-mail, text messages, calendar, and any other institutional application you may need. Be advised that you may have issues with accessing a network WiFi, or the Internet.  You should familiarize yourself with potential problems prior to your trip.  If you are using your personal cell phone you will need to arrange international services with your carrier and ask about charges when traveling abroad for services you regularly use.  Our intent is to help guide you through the process for accessing your MUSC e-mail, checking your calendar, sending a text or using your laptop. The following are tips for either an MUSC issued phone, or your personal device:

Enabling your Cell Phone for Foreign Travel:    

  1. Ordering international phone service for the smart phones.
    1. MUSC/MUHA owned - Call University Communications (UCT) at 2-4040 one week before travel date.  UCT will get the service upgraded, provide information, answer questions, and provide a telephone number for customer service..
    2. Personally owned – Owner must call the service provider to upgrade your voice/data plans.  Make sure you call one week in advance to make sure the plan gets changed in time.
  2. How to use the phone with WiFi and foreign networks?
    1. All devices are different and you may have to refer to your devices operating instructions –
      1. Go to network settings on your device and search for wireless networks. 
      2. Select a network to connect to,
      3. But keep in mind it is not recommended to connect to an untrusted network

3.       How 2Factor and MDM affects the phone.

  1. Information about 2Factor can be found at
    1. Keep in mind, if you have 2Factor set to call your cellular device, and do not have cellular service when you attempt to login, 2Factor will not be able to reach you.
    2. You can login to the 2Factor portal

and follow the instruction on how to request a one-time bypass.

  1. Information about MDM can be found at
    1. MDM should have no affect when traveling internationally.
    2. If you encounter problems with MDM, call +011-843-792-9700 and log a call for the Endpoint Security Team on-call person.
    3. .If you encounter problems with MDM, call 011-843-792-9700 792-9700 and log a call for the Endpoint Security Team on-call person.
  2.  Upon return -What to do to disengage the international phone service.
    1. MUSC/MUHA owned - Call University Communications (UCT) at 2-4040 when you return to the states.  UCT will get the service changed back.
    2. Personally owned – Owner must call the service provider to change your voice/data plans.

5.       Any other important information that you may know of that is not listed above.

Foreign Travel tips for your smart phones
(Notes from Michael Schmidt, Ph.D., professor and vice chairman, Department of Microbiology and Immunology and director, Office of Special Programs)                   

Voice, Text and Data are expensive and often unexpected propositions when traveling abroad, even to places as near as Canada and Mexico.  Depending on how your cellular service was configured at the time you committed to your last contract, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the potential charges you might incur should you avail yourself of the services passively enabled when traveling abroad.   The intent of this document is to help guide you through the process so upon your return you won’t be surprised with a $1,000 charge for data simply as a consequence of checking your email, sending a text or posting a picture to Facebook.    

Assessing your options.  Here it important to assess what your plan offers with respect to International Roaming.  Here there are three things to assess.  The first is Voice- here you will want to understand what will it cost to receive a call from the US while traveling within the foreign locale and second what will it cost to place a call back to the US.  Rates vary by country and often the carriers offer bundles and as well as ala-carte selections.  Appreciate that turning on the phone as you change planes in London or Paris when your destination is not within the UK or France will qualify as a different country and thus you may incur an additional charge for checking your voice mail.  Appreciate that Voice Mail, may or may not notify you that you have a message waiting, so you may need to jot down the voice mail access number, remembering to add the country code prior to dialing; unless otherwise noted, toll free numbers rarely work overseas, so plan ahead should you need to call your airline or hotel. 

The second is Texting.  Here it is important to read the fine print associated with your plan and its offerings.  Often folks bundle images within the texts they send- here check to see if images, video or voice attachments will incur an additional charge and determine whether or not the plan you have selected plan accounts for texts received by the foreign carrier and delivered to your phone as well as texts sent from your phone while abroad.  Even if you have unlimited texting in the US, it is unlikely that the plan will be so accommodating overseas. 

The final issue is Data.  The majority of modern smartphone operating systems have defaulted and disabled data transmission via cellular networks when traveling abroad.  The OS is aware of the carrier that you are contracted to, and depending on your OS, it may or may not inquire if you wish to enable data roaming.  Here it’s important to assess the value proposition that the convenience of cellular data might offer as you consider the cost to transmit/ receive those data packets.

October 30, 2014



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