So, what do you have stored on your PDA and cell phone? Maybe some personal phone numbers and addresses? Business leads? Perhaps even a few PIN numbers and passwords? Take a quick inventory. There's probably some pretty important information stored there. Here's the next question: How would you feel if your phone was stolen or if your pocket PC ended up in someone else's hands? Or what if a virus drained your cell phone's battery and suddenly you couldn't be reached? These are scenarios many of us haven't considered, or maybe dismissed as unlikely or trivial, even as we focus a lot of energy on securing our laptops and desktops. But don't forget about your handheld devices. You won't know how much you value them until they're gone or disabled.
Vital Information on the Go
Our cell phones and PDAs have become essential. You might even say we're dependent on them. They're convenient and portable, and they're becoming ever more sophisticated. You can take them wherever you go, bringing crucial notes and critical information anywhere you are. Unfortunately, their very portability makes them a prime candidate for one of the most basic security issues we face-physical loss. Whether you leave them on a café table or they're stolen from your backpack, their loss can have serious consequences. For example, if a mischievous character finds your cell phone, he may just take it for a joy ride, making prank calls to Siberia, Sri Lanka, or Timbuktu, all on your dime. If you misplace your pocket PC, you may lose the notes you just took at that brainstorming session or the phone number of an important new contact.
So, it's critical to keep track of your handhelds. Treat them as the vital devices they are, and guard them just as you would your wallet. Don't use your handheld as the sole repository for important information. Keep a backup of phone numbers and addresses on your computer or in a day planner. You may also want to minimize the amount of personal and financial information on your mobile devices. No matter how convenient it might be, don't keep PIN numbers, passwords, or account numbers there.
Protection for Your Handheld
Now that you've realized just how much important private information your cell phone holds, you're probably wondering, "Just how secure is my mobile? And how do I make it more secure?"
You've most likely taken the first step and created a password to lock your cell phone, but if not, do so now. Although passwords are not foolproof, they go a long way toward deterring the casual PDA or smartphone thief.
You could also install some of the new products targeted at protecting handhelds, such as Norton's Mobile Security. With Mobile Security, you can remotely lock your mobile device if it is lost or stolen, and prevent access to your private information.
The Growing Mobile Virus Threat
Password protecting your mobile device could prevent risks to your information in the case of loss, but what about the threats your handheld faces even when it's in your possession? The number of virus threats to handhelds is growing as cybercriminals target these often unprotected devices. Some threats come in the form of attractive apps that actually contain malicious code. Others arrive via text messages, and then sit on your device until they replicate themselves by replying to incoming text messages with an infected attachment.
Fortunately, you can now protect your pocket PC and cell phone just as you protect your laptop, with strong antivirus software. Internet security companies like Symantec are responding to these threats by developing antivirus programs for mobile devices, such as Norton Mobile Security.
Handheld devices keep us informed and in touch when we're on the go. They're also becoming more and more like full-blown computers. As we begin to store more and more critical information on them, mobile security is vital to our everyday security. Don't get caught off guard-start protecting your mobile devices today.