Secure your devices
Te whakahaere i tētahi pūrere tawhito

Manage the risks of an older device

Older devices quickly become unsupported, making them a security risk. Learn how to manage the risk, and when to replace them.

How it works

Technology is constantly improving and manufacturers are producing new models with better in-built security features. Providing special fixes for older models without these features becomes time consuming and expensive for manufacturers to support.

Instead, manufacturers pick a length of time that they will support them. This is like a best-before date for your phone or tablet. After that date, they are known as end-of-life devices and any new security issues will not be fixed – leaving you at higher risk of cyber attack.

The risks

Out of date security features

Older devices do not have the constantly improving in-built security features of newer devices.

No support or security fixes

The companies that make devices only provide support for them for a fixed amount of time. For example iPad 1 and 2 are no longer supported by Apple and Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft.

When a device is no longer supported, it's  known as an end-of-life device and any new security issues will not be fixed. This leaves the device at a higher risk of cyber attacks. A virus on an unsupported device can infect other devices on your home or business network and cause even more problems.

How to protect yourself

  • Plan to replace it

    Know how long your tablet or phone will be supported for and always plan to replace it before it reaches end-of-life. Start planning to replace your end-of-life devices as soon as possible.

    If you’re buying second-hand, or handing down a device to a family member, find out how much longer the device will be supported for.

    Set up a new device securely

  • Reduce your data

    Don’t store data you care about on it, in case the device is corrupted and the data is lost. Ensure that any data stored on the device is also backed-up on a separate hard-drive or online. This includes important documents, photos and emails.

    Back up your data and devices

  • Delete unused apps

    Delete any apps you aren’t using any more or don’t need. Keep the ones you do need current with regular updates from the official app stores.

  • Apply safe-use practices

    If you can’t replace the device, lower your security risk by practicing safe use:

    • don't use , , fileshare or unless necessary, and turn them off when not in use
    • don't install unnecessary apps, and remove any you no longer use
    • don't click on unknown links.
  • Reset before you ditch it

    Before you get rid of the old device, make sure you:

    • back up the files
    • do a
    • check the data has been removed.

How to protect yourself

Plan to replace it

Know how long your tablet or phone will be supported for and always plan to replace it before it reaches end-of-life. Start planning to replace your end-of-life devices as soon as possible.

If you’re buying second-hand, or handing down a device to a family member, find out how much longer the device will be supported for.

Setting up a new device securely

Reduce your data

Don’t store data you care about on it, in case the device is corrupted and the data is lost. Ensure that any data stored on the device is also backed-up on a separate hard-drive or online. This includes important documents, photos and emails.

Backing up your data and devices

Delete unused apps

Delete any apps you aren’t using any more or don’t need. Keep the ones you do need current with regular updates from the official app stores.

Apply safe-use practices

If you can’t replace the device, lower your security risk by practicing safe use:

  • don't use bluetooth, WiFi, fileshare or tethering unless necessary, and turn them off when not in use
  • don't install unnecessary apps, and remove any you no longer use
  • don't click on unknown links.

Reset before you ditch it

Before you get rid of the old device, make sure you:

  • back up the files
  • do a factory reset
  • check the data has been removed.

Get help

If you’ve experienced an online security issue, your first step is to contact the service provider.

You can also report an online issue or security incident to us at CERT NZ.

Get help now