Mobility

When the phone is smarter than the person

This News.com story reveals the results of the annual Mobile Usage Survey from security software firm Pointsec: "Vital data often stored on unsecured devices." As you can tell from the title, quite a few people are careless with the private information that they enter in their smart phones and mobile computers. In fact, "Three out of 10 of these sloppy, handheld-happy users store their PIN numbers, passwords, and other corporate information on them."

Guess what? The more people who purchase mobile devices (a total of 13 million smart mobile devices were sold in the third quarter alone), the more people who LOSE them! Of the people who were interviewed for the survey, 16% said they lost their mobile devices in 2004  - and 22% said they lost their mobile devices (so far) in 2005. Can you see the trend? Want to hear something even more disturbing? "Of those who lost their smart phone or handheld computer, 81 percent had not encrypted the information on it." 

These interviewees are only the ones who "admitted" that they lost their mobile device and hadn't encrypted their personal info. Would I admit to such a big blunder? Ok, I probably would... but hey, there are some people who might have lied so that they didn't look like an idiot. Here are a few ways the interviewees claimed to have lost their handhelds: "Traveling with a mobile device was the most likely way to lose it, with the majority not being stolen, but rather forgotten in the back of a taxi, left in an airport, or on the train. Only 40 percent of losses were reported to the police." A-HA! My point exactly! ;-)  

About Sonja Thompson

Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.

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