The lowdown on mobile security

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What's ahead in mobile security? Security threats will rise as reliance on mobile devices expands, and the devices come to be seen as easy targets for hackers.

When should I develop policies? As difficult as it is to formulate and enforce security policies, it will be a hundred times harder if you don't tackle it before the first mobile device is handed to a road warrior. In addition, by the time 10 people are carrying mobile devices, a user culture must have been firmly established.

Must-know info? Although the data on a workstation can sometimes be safely left unencrypted simply because it is in a secure building, the same isn't true of data stored on notebook PCs, personal digital assistants or cell phones.

What are the policy challenges? Keeping physical track of the devices can be a major headache, but enforcing usage policies will always be a greater challenge. Proof-of-concept code and vicious strains of malicious software are known to exist for virtually every mobile device.

What about hacker activity? Hackers already view data on physical networks as fair game if it isn't well secured. Wireless hacking is one stage further removed: There are vast numbers of hackers just waiting for someone with a vulnerable wireless device to wander by with credit card numbers or other juicy data squirting out into the ether.

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