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PDAs make easy pickings for data thieves

Flaky security hands crooks bank details and more

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PDAs make easy pickings; a survey reveals that private and corporate secrets are all too frequently left unprotected.

One in ten peoples' bank accounts could be accessed if they lost their Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).

That's according to a survey of PDA usage by mobile security firm Pointsec, which discovered owners commonly download substantial slices of their personal and business lives onto their PDAs - but leave the information unencrypted and without password protection.

Obviously Pointsec is trying to promote the use of its technology through the survey, but some of the findings are an eye opener on how lax many people are with PDA security.

PINs, passwords, customer details, bank accounts, credit card & social security details are just some of the confidential and personal pieces of information people are storing unprotected on their PDAs.

A quarter of those who store their own passwords and PINs on their PDA do not bother to use a password to restrict access, according to the study.

Of the people who store their bank account details on their PDA, 65 per cent do not bother to encrypt this information, with just under a quarter failing to password protect this information.

Around one in 16 (6 per cent) of people have lost PDAs in the past, but almost a third (32 per cent) still continue to use them without a password.

The survey, which was released last week, was conducted among 332 IT and sales personnel, 43 per cent of whom are working for corporate organisations employing 1000-plus staff.

Twenty three percent 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.

One in four users are not bothering to protect their PDA with a password, even though over a third are using it as a business tool to store confidential corporate information and access their corporate networks. ®

Top ten functions of PDAs


  1. To store personal names & addresses
  2. As a business diary
  3. As a personal diary
  4. For entertainment such as games, music etc
  5. To store passwords/PINs
  6. To receive emails
  7. Create documents/spreadsheets
  8. To store corporate information
  9. To store bank accounts
  10. Travel updates


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