Corporate secrets are being left unprotected on personal digital assistants (PDAs), with one in four users not bothering to protect their PDA with a password.
The findings are part of a survey into PDA usage by 332 IT and sales personnel, published this week by Pointsec Mobile Technologies and Infosecurity Europe.
PDA owners are commonly found to download the entire contents of their personal and business lives leaving valuable information such as PIN numbers, passwords and customer details unencrypted and without password protection.
The survey reveals that 89 per cent of workers use PDAs as a business diary and 36 per cent to store corporate information - with 7 out of 10 who do so leaving it unencrypted.
Just under half of those surveyed said they used PDAs to store passwords and PIN numbers, and 37 per cent to create documents/spreadsheets.
Of the people storing customer information on their PDA, 71 per cent don't bother with encryption, making it easy pickings for a competitor or thief.
But businesses often have only themselves to blame. Some 23 per cent of PDAs are company-owned, with two out of three being supplied without any formal PDA policy or guidelines on the importance of password protection and encryption.
Magnus Ahlberg, managing director of Pointsec Mobile Technologies, said: "The survey shows that people are using their PDAs as portable mini filing cabinets, storing every essence of their personal and business lives on them, and yet are oblivious to the fact that without password protection anyone can access this information."He added: "As organisations go mobile, they need to encrypt their information, which is like having walls to your office. It takes a thief merely seconds to hotsync information from a PDA using a laptop or PC if it is unencrypted and not password-protected."
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