IT experts overlook mobile security

DQW Bureau
New Update


A third of professionals using mobile devices

such as PDAs and Smartphones don't use passwords or any other security

protection and yet three out of 10 of these sloppy handheld happy users store

their PIN numbers, passwords and other corporate information on them.

This was revealed in the Mobile Usage Survey 2005, conducted

for the fourth year by Pointsec Mobile Technologies and SC Magazine. The survey

was conducted amongst IT professionals who are considered more security savvy

than the average employee.

Mobile usage survey 2005
Survey result for the percentage use of PDAs and Smartphones

for different purposes:
  • Personal names and addresses: 86 percent

  • Business names and addresses: 81 percent

  • Telephone: 71 percent

  • Business diary: 59 percent

  • Personal diary: 55 percent

  • Receive and view emails: 45 percent

  • Entertainment - games, music etc: 37 percent

  • Passwords/PIN numbers: 37 percent

  • Personal images (photographs): 33 percent

  • Corporate information: 27 percent

  • Bank account details: 15 percent



According to the survey, corporate personnel now store huge

amounts of corporate data on their mobile devices, including customer contacts,

email details, passwords and bank account details as well as personal and

private information such as friend's details, personal images and even PIN

numbers, without giving much consideration to security.

As a result, a lost PDA or Smartphone with no protection

makes easy pickings for common thieves, opportunists, hackers or competitors and

could enable them to steal your identity and get at your corporate information.

This could have a huge impact on customer confidence, breach the data protection

act or do untold damage to a company's reputation. On a personal level, it

could expose the person to fraud, embarrass friends or wreck the personal life,

the survey revealed.

78 percent of users do not encrypt the information on their

PDA or Smartphone even though sensitive personal and valuable corporate

information is being stored on these devices with 81 percent using them to store

business names and addresses, 45 percent to receive and view emails and 27

percent store corporate information. 59 percent also use their devices as a

business diary and 14 percent use them to store information on their customers.


According to the survey, last year just 16 percent had lost

one, this year it has increased to 22 percent and of those that did lose their

device 81 percent had not encrypted their information and admitted that the

information could fall into the wrong hands.

Only 40 percent inform the police as the rest don't believe

there is anything the police can do or it costs more to report it than to

replace it. Martin Allen, MD, Pointsec said "We believe this survey shows

just the tip of the iceberg as it has been conducted amongst IT professionals

who are far more security savvy than most other handheld device users. Our

advice is secure it, or don't use it!"

The Mobile Usage Survey 2005 was conducted among 73 IT

managers, with 34 percent coming from companies employing over 1,000 employees.


DQW News Bureau

New Delhi, Nov 22