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Issue #2002 - 24 (June 2002)
(Updated June 26, 2002)


Business PDA Users are a High-Security Risk, survey finds

With all the conferences and literature devoted to wireless security, businesses are still not taking the initiative to protect confidential data held on their employees’ personal digital assistants, according to a Computer Weekly survey.

Conducted by PDA security software supplier Pointsec and Infosecurity Europe, the survey questioned 332 IT professionals who regularly use a PDA for business tasks. Many admitted to downloading the entire contents of their personal and business lives into their handheld device and leaving the information unencrypted and without password protection.

Even though storing passwords, PIN numbers, corporate information and bank account numbers are among the top ten PDA functions used, only 22 percent of the users said their employer had a specific PDA usage policy and 41 percent said they never changed their passwords, with a further 26 percent only doing so occasionally.

Other Findings

  • About 25 percent of those who store their own passwords and PIN numbers on their PDA do not use a password to restrict unauthorized users.
  • Of those who store their bank account details on their PDA 65 percent do not encrypt the data, while under a quarter do not bother to password protect this confidential information.
  • Of those who store customer information on their handheld 71 percent don’t encrypt this information, making access easy for hackers or, even, competitors.
  • Thirty six percent use their PDA to download corporate information with seven out of 10 leaving it unencrypted.
  • Nearly four out of five respondents said they use their own PDA for work purposes, and 77 percent said they have synchronized the data on their handheld device with their company PC or laptop.

By using their own mobile/wireless devices, employees increase the risk of unsanctioned software being installed on corporate networks, said Magnus Ahlberg, managing director of Pointsec. He advises organizations to quickly ban the general usage of private PDAs, as they can no longer afford to ignore PDA security.

For more information: http://www.pointsec.com http://www.cw360.com

MobileInfo.com’s Comments & Advisory:  Survey results are very glaring and drive home the point that we must protect our PDA data in a more secure fashion.  

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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