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Risk

4/17/2008
05:55 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Ever Lose A Smartphone?

I've lost a number of them, and each time I've left behind a smartphone or PDA, I've worried not so much about the device -- but the personal data it holds. Kaspersky Lab is offering what could be a viable solution.

I've lost a number of them, and each time I've left behind a smartphone or PDA, I've worried not so much about the device -- but the personal data it holds. Kaspersky Lab is offering what could be a viable solution.Sure, it stings having to separate with an additional few hundred bucks to replace a lost smartphone. But these devices can contain information that, if in the wrong hands, can be a lot more costly. I've lived through this nightmare a couple of times. I've left a PDA in a cab in Miami. And I left a cell phone in a cab in Washington, D.C. (Guess I should be more careful in cabs.)

Fortunately, the devices were password-protected. Not the best assurance that the data is safe, but better than nothing.

After these incidents, I tried a service called StuffBak.

I haven't lost a device since, so I'm not sure how well it works, but basically the device is registered with the company, and if someone finds it -- and that person is a good Samaritan -- he or she will call a number on a sticker affixed to the device, and StuffBak would act as the middleperson to shepherd the device back home. There are a handful of similar services out there.

While worthwhile, these services are no protection against identity theft.

Today, I noticed that Kaspersky Lab, the anti-malware software company, recently brought to market mobile security software that makes it possible to wipe clean the contents of a smartphone's memory and storage by sending a "hidden SMS message." I've not tried Kaspersky Mobile Security software yet, but I will.

The software works on Windows Mobile 5.0, 6.0, and the Symbian OS versions 9.x Series 60 (Nokia).

This idea isn't new, but such capabilities, as far as I'm aware, have only been available through large enterprise mobile management applications that require a centralized management server. It's good to see such capabilities available for the consumer and the SMB set.

Oh, yeah, the software also protects against SMS spam and mobile malware. But so far, the biggest threat to my cell phones has been my own forgetfulness.

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