Today, with the rise of popularity of ubiquitous computing and enterprise mobility, more and more professionals have started using PDAs and smart-phones for conducting business. A major risk is that such usage exposes one to attacks through the less secure WiFi or Edge. The cipher used by the General System for Mobile Communications (GSM) has been cracked by a German researcher Karsten Nohl who presented his findings Sunday at a hacker conference in Berlin. So there is a reasonable cause for most users to worry as the security scheme used by 80 percent of the world’s cellular telephones has been compromised.

Apart from the standard attack from worms, trojans and viruses, this adds a new dimension to worry about for business groups who thrive on the Blackberrys and the like. The problem will be that soon large numbers of people and organizations will be able to monitor GSM calls using off-the-shelf hardware and open-source software. Electronic eavesdropping and tracking will increase due to the new hacking technology. The good news is that in six months to a year organizations that are security conscious (and are likely targets) may want to find a new way to protect their calls. So larger organizations who can afford such investments on technology are likely to be protected.

So, this is what may worry the small scale users of technology. But what they can do is follow a few basic guidelines in the way they communicate.

  1. Import all mail with sensitive data in Gmail for access.
  2. Use the e-mail client for an email ID with non-sensitive data.
  3. Use an Ant-Virus, at least a basic one. Some are available free. Eset is available free of cost.
  4. Do not press the Yes button on your mobile phone unless you are sure of the consequences while online or are installing any unknown software.
  5. Destroy any MMS messages and links from unknown senders without opening them.
  6. Never keep all your important data in your hand held device. Create back-ups regularly and always encrypt the locally kept data.
  7. Never connect to a bluetooth device unless you know whose it is.

Following these few simple yet effective techniques, the users of PDAs, Palmtops and Smart-phones may effectively lower the risk of security breach to a large extent. And the best thing is, while undergoing such small modifications in the way they use the PDA, the smaller organization won’t have to strain their pockets for the valuable resources.

Thus following few very simple TBDs, can help you save yourself from incurring major expenses from the breach or from trying to protect yourself from the same.

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.