Careless PDA users threaten corporate security

Wednesday, 9 July 2003, 2:50 PM EST

Billions of pounds continue to be wasted each year on corporate security that is easily bypassed because so many employees leave unprotected passwords and corporate information on their personal digital assistants (PDAs), according to a recent survey.

The second annual PDA Usage Survey, which was carried out on behalf of Pointsec Mobile Technologies, has discovered that a third of PDA owners store work passwords and cash machine PIN numbers on their PDAs, but do not secure access to their PDA in case the device is stolen or lost.

The survey also highlighted that the role of PDAs has changed in the past year. Whereas in 2002 their main use was as a personal organiser, this year the top function is as a business diary.

Magnus Ahlberg, the managing director of Pointsec, is worried because PDA users are not aware of the "serious implications" that arise if a device is lost or stolen. "It takes merely seconds to synchronise information from a PDA if it is unencrypted and not password protected. Alternatively, with the development of wireless technology, a competitor or hacker could sit in the coffee bar next to your office and get access directly into your corporate network," he said in a statement.

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