Work and Life in the Mobile Society/Security/Loss-Theft

How can loss or theft of a mobile device be dealt with?

From a survey of house hold spending Canada: Over two-thirds (68%) of Canadian households reported owning at least one cell phone, up from 64% in 2005. Moreover, 1 in 5 households reported owning two cell phones, while 1 in 10 households had three or more. With the increase use of cell phones also come the increase of cell phone theft and loss; it’s as frequent as losing a pair of sunglasses. As personal devices become more numerous in shape, size and functionality, they will become a part of us. And until that happens quite literally, we stand the chance at leaving a part of ourselves behind at the cafe, newsstand and while taking advantage of public transportation. Quite possibly you will only lose your list of contacts, easily restored to a new device from your PC back at the office. Sometimes more confidential information will be lost, but the gain for thieves is not actually in the phone but from the lapse of time from the theft until the time you notice it and take action to have the line shut down. Thieves are running up thousands of dollars in cell phone calls at your expense because the cell phone companies are holding the clients responsible up until the time it is reported stolen.



"Secure" encryption methods provide even greater security, but have also been shown to have a limited usable lifetime. With that said, personal files on personal devices can and should be encrypted. Following the theory that an encrypted file becomes less valuable over time; you protect critical personal data from potential attack for long enough until it worthless. An example of this is protecting credit card and account information long enough for you to find a phone and cancel the account.



Some disadvantages of a loss or stolen devices are that company employers and employees are walking around with corporate data on their PDAs and laptops and it’s not protected. The users as well as their devices are at risk. Although there is antivirus software and firewalls that may protect a network, they do not protect device-stored data.

Future Implications


As technology progresses we hope that one of the methods that will be automatic will be the encryption of personal handheld devices that are being used by the corporations’ employers as well as their employees. If corporations are going to continue to allow their employers/employees to synchronize their mobile devices with company data then they will have to ensure that they take the necessary steps to safe guard the data that may end up in the wrong hands. Encryption, firewalls, antispam ware and antivirus protection is a must. Maybe companies will follow in the footsteps of Milpitas, Calif.-based Phoenix Technologies Ltd., and incorporate the same product that they have introduced to their company called the TrustConnector 2, an application that prevents attackers from accessing protected systems even if they have valid IDs and passwords. According to Phoenix Technologies, every device that can access a network is given an identity that cannot be altered or stolen, making each identified device trusted.