Mobility and Security

Well the mobile masses are quickly discovering that security is even more vital when your files are stored on tiny devices that are easily misplaced, lost or stolen.

And the corporate types are discovering that their personal/company use of flashdrives and PDAs that are left without strong encryption is being discouraged, even forbidden.

And now… there’s even a mobile-specific virus that’s heating up the media… introducing Cabir — the first infection designed for your phone!

Can life get any better than this?… and what are your options?…
You can get a program to lock down your flash drive, or you can get a hard-ware based one for about… hmmm about TEN TIMES the price of a standard thumb-drive (on sale of course).

You can even get thumb-print-scanning security drives — requiring a thumbprint to use your thumbdrive.

The way I see it, I’ve managed to have three kids and travel in and out of the country and pass several security checks for jobs without being fingerprinted… I’ll be darned if my thumbdrive (or laptop, or any other device) is going to use it to identify me.

Yeah, I know, I’m weird.

Some companies are reportedly WELDING closed the USB ports on employee computers! Others are instituting policies against using personal USBs in a corporate environment. But, flash drives are so convenient, that even the big boys know it’s a losing battle.

I have found a nice option for my Treo that I really like — and recommend. It’s a picturepassword. It works like this… I have my logo on my treo face (and can change that to other pictures at any time) and there is one pixel that, if tapped, my PDA opens. If, however, the wrong pixel is tapped — you are required to type in my QUITE lengthy secure password with upper and lowercase letters and numbers.

I used the free download for quite awhile before changing over to the paid version. It’s a good product, causes no crashes and leaves me feeling much more secure.

My next purchase for the Treo is a program which permits a user-set number of password attempts and if there is a PW failure after that number is reached, there is a bit wipe of all or selected data on the PDA. I’ve not tried either of these two programs… yet. It’s created by PDA Defense (www.PDADefense.com)

I’ve even heard some scuttle-butt about a program that allows you to dial the cell and remotely wipe the entire memory (not including the FLASH card expansion, of course). This means, if (goodness forbid) you ever lose your little “brain” — it’s protected from hacking attempts through the memory wiped. If anyone has heard of this beyond the Urban Legends, drop me line.

Another article I’ve read talks about an exploding chip for future use in mobile device security. Nothing like a little “boom” to keep the thieves at bay, eh?

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_498292.html?menu=news.technology

And as far as the Mobile Virus goes – it’s a bunch of hype. You can only get it through mobile devices with Bluetooth which means I won’t be at risk until I upgrade to the Treo 650.

And, you also have to be gullible enough to actually agree to download and launch the infected file. Now, I’m sure there are those out there who will do exactly that (hence the spreading of the thing)- but I’m not one of them, are you?

According to computerworld.com:

To be infected by Cabir, mobile phones must be running Symbian OS with the Series 60 software and have the Bluetooth wireless feature in “discoverable” mode, making them open to new connections, according to Hyppnen. In addition, the owner of the phone would have to press a key to dismiss a security warning about installing software of unknown origin, and then another to agree to install the file being transmitted.

If you ask me, to be infected with this particular virus at this particular point in the game requires that there be a LOT of stupid going on. :O)

For now, the infections are limited and the biggest thing about this (other than the promise that a new age of security concerns) is the media hype.

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