Sloppy Habits Lead To Mobile Security Shambles -- Report

A third of professionals using mobile devices such as PDAs and smartphones do not use passwords or any other security protection, according to a survey by Pointsec Mobile Technologies.

November 14, 2005

2 Min Read
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LONDON — A third of professionals using mobile devices such as PDAs and smartphones do not use passwords or any other security protection, according to a survey by Pointsec Mobile Technologies. The results are all the more staggering as three out of ten of these sloppy handheld happy users were found to store their PIN numbers, passwords and other corporate information on them.

What’s more, The Mobile Usage Survey 2005, the fourth in the series from Pointsec, was conducted amongst IT professionals who are supposedly more security savvy than the average employee.

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.

Pointsec warns a lost PDA or smartphone with no protection makes easy pickings for common thieves, opportunists, hackers or competitors. And the company says turning a blind eyes to mobile security could have a huge impact on customer confidence, cause an organisation to breach the data protection act or do untold damage to a company's reputation.

On a personal level, it could expose users to fraud, embarrass friends or wreck personal lives, the survey revealed.Since the survey was first introduced 4 years ago, awareness of the risks of storing unencrypted data on a handheld is still surprisingly low and needs to be improved to prevent security breaches. Seventy eight percent of users do not encrypt the information on their PDA or smart phone 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.

Travelling with mobile devices still appears to be the most likely way to lose it, with the majority of them not being stolen, but forgotten in the back of a taxi, or left in an airport or on the train, the survey results suggest.

Having one too many drinks in a nightclub or relaxing in a restaurant can also be dangerous as they are the next most common place to lose a device.

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