PDA users put corporate secrets at risk

The findings are part of a survey into PDA usage by 332 IT and sales personnel published this week by Pointsec Mobile Technologies and Infosecurity Europe.

PDA owners will commonly download the entire contents of their personal and business lives leaving valuable information such as PIN numbers, passwords and customer details, unencrypted and without password protection.

The survey reveals that 89% of workers use PDAs as a business diary, 36% to store corporate information – with 7 out of 10 who do so leaving it unencrypted. Just under half use PDAs to store passwords and PIN numbers and 37% to create documents/spreadsheets.

Of the people storing customer information on their PDA, 71% don’t encrypt this information making it easy pickings for a competitor or thief.

Often businesses have only themselves to blame. Some 23% of PDAs are company owned with two out of three being supplied without any formal PDA policy or guidelines on the importance of password protection and encryption.

Magnus Ahlberg, managing director of Pointsec Mobile Technologies said: ‘The survey shows that people are using their PDAs as portable mini filing cabinets, storing every essence of their personal and business lives on them and yet are oblivious to the fact that without password protection anyone can access this information.’

He added: ‘As organisations go mobile, they need to encrypt their information which is like having walls to your office. It takes a thief merely seconds to hotsync information from a PDA using a laptop or PC if it is unencrypted and not password protected.’

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