Pointsec takes crypto to Symbian

PIN down

Pointsec today upgraded its encryption software to cover Symbian mobile devices.

The mobile device security firm already offers security software for Windows-based computers, Pocket PC and Palm OS. With the release of Pointsec for Symbian OS in December, the company will be able to claim it offers protection for all leading mobile platforms.

Pointsec for Symbian OS protects sensitive information if a device is lost or stolen by storing sensitive data in an encrypted form, using an 128 bit AES-based algorithm.

Using on-the fly encryption, Pointsec for Symbian OS automatically encrypts all files before they are stored on a device and decrypts these files again when they are opened. The utility works with a range of file types (including graphics, SMS and e-mail messages, Word and Adobe Acrobat documents as well as PowerPoint presentations). It also protects information stored on memory cards.

Pointsec for Symbian OS will be available during December, 2003. The first version will include support for Sony Ericsson P800/P900 and Nokia 9200 Communicator series with plans to support a wider range of devices over time.

The first release of Pointsec for Symbian OS is a re-badged version of technology from acquired when it bought F-Secure’s FileCrypto product range in September.

Initially, access to protected information will be via a numerical PIN. Pointsec hopes to support PicturePIN, its technology for representing passwords as a series of symbols rather than harder-to remember digits, by the first quarter of next year.

The importance of mobile file encryption is illustrated by a Operation Abacus, the biggest drug raid ever conducted by Kent Police at the start of the year. More than 300 people on the Isle of Sheppey were arrested, after information (names, addresses, details of deals etc.) stored on a drug dealer's PDA was recovered by the police.

This is probably not the kind of example Pointsec would wish to quote but this anecdote stands as a powerful example of the perils of mobile data “falling into the wrong hands”. ®

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