Protecting Your PDA

Keeping your desktop computer secure is challenging enough; locking down your portable device is an entirely different issue. With damaging crimes, such as identity theft, on the rise, portable devices require more protection than ever, especially if you own a PDA.

Many of us have created dozens of accounts across the internet for various sites. You probably need to keep track of accounts for your bank, credit cards, insurance policies and other services. With access required to a large variety of sites comes the added issue of remembering dozens of usernames and passwords. This information should be easily accessible when conducting business but kept completely private when you are away from your computer or PDA.

It's quite disturbing how so many individuals are confident that the password protection feature built in into their portable operating system is enough to protect a PDA. The password protection scheme in the Microsoft Word application and even the Palm OS is simple. Any thief that steals the device can easily connect it to a computer and use an inexpensive tool to access your data. In order to prevent such an attack, you need a solution that protects the information on your PDA and your computer.

PDA Security Software

There are several available programs that run on the Palm operating system and support the Windows environment as well. LinkeSoft's Secret! is one simple and effective program that allows you to store any kind of text. It encrypts your data with a cryptographic key which is generated from a master password that you create. Secret! employs the IDEA (International Data Encryption Algorithm), a 128-bit strong encryption scheme that offers adequate protection for your PDA. If you are running a different platform, such as the Linux operating system, you can easily find versions of Secret! which are specifically designed for that environment.

If your PDA isn't compatible with the Palm OS, similar options are available. Handago's eWallet application is a reliable alternative for Windows handheld PCs and CE devices. If you own a BlackBerry, Rim Wallet by Underwater software makes a good choice. While these utilities have been tested and proven, any other solution should be thoroughly researched.

We recommend only using software that employs industry standard encryption schemes. A trusted vendor should make such documentation easily accessible on their website. The more you can find out about how the software will store and encrypt your data, the better. Because software applications themselves have a reputation for having flaws and vulnerabilities, you can take your research one step further by looking for a program that makes its source code freely available for the public to review. Rest assured that you do not have to be a programmer to understand when something doesn't look right.

Final Recommendations

Even though finely scripted programs like Secrets!, eWallet and Rim Wallet are efficient, you should never store any unencrypted files on your PDA. Also keep in mind that a quality program will only provide a level of protection based on the strength of your password. Make sure it's something long, unique and extremely difficult to guess.


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