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PDA / Cellphone Security

Virtually all computer users understand the necessity for these basic security measures: password protection for sensitive or private information and antivirus software, if the machine directly connects to the Internet or receives files downloaded elsewhere from the Internet. Unfortunately, many people who are otherwise rather sophisticated technologically are prone to carry cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) that are completely insecure.

The small size of cell phones and PDAs leads to their being easily lost, stolen, or temporarily appropriated by data thieves. If these devices either store or access sensitive information, password protection is highly advisable. Moreover, if you use your cell phone or PDA to connect to the Internet and/or to interface with computer systems, you need to protect against viruses that can either damage your device, or use your device as a means for proliferating elsewhere.

  • For cell phone security, raise this issue before initiating service. If the service provider under consideration does not offer either devices or plans that support appropriate security measures, look for one that does.
  • For PDA security, closely scrutinize the product specifications and features before buying. If there is any doubt about what security measures you can implement, call the manufacturer’s technical support hotline.
  • With both cell phones and PDAs, understand what recourse you have if the security measures you expect to have do not work as advertised. In the least, you should be able to terminate the service without penalty and/or return the hardware for a full refund. If you do not have such guarantees in writing, however, you cannot rely on their being enforced.

Just like with a PC, in order for your protection against viruses to remain effective, you must update the list of patterns regularly from the vendor of the virus eliminator.

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