No matter where you work, security is an absolute must for todays bedouins. With wireless connections, data typically is sent unencrypted through the air between the mobile device and an access point, making it easy for hackers to sniff the data from as far away as the parking lot.
"You are never in your whole life more vulnerable than when youre sitting in a public hotspot," said Daniel Hoffman, a senior systems engineer at Fiberlink Communications and author of "Blackjacking: Security Threats to BlackBerry Devices, PDAs, and Cell Phones in the Enterprise." "If you don't have the proper security items in place, you'll never know when you're being hacked because the goal is that you don't know."
Equip Your Laptop: Anti-spam, Anti-spyware, Personal Firewall
"Make sure that your antivirus and anti-spyware is running and is up-to-date," said Hoffman. "You also want a personal firewall so that person across the room cant attack you directly. That firewall component should have some kind of intrusion prevention capability to know that someone is trying to attack you and will stop them."
Hoffman said you want the same protection you put on your laptop as you would with your BlackBerrys and PDAs. "There is antivirus software available for BlackBerry's and PDAs," he said. "There are also firewall applications as well."
Prepare for Theft or Loss
Identity theft and personal security expert, Robert Siciliano, CEO of Boston-based IDTheftSecurity.com, often sees people in cafés get up to purchase another coffee or use the restroom, and leave their laptop on the table.
"Anyone who hangs out in a café all day sees numerous opportunities to steal laptops," he said.
Safeguard your data by implementing a password-protected screen lock, and don't store sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, or credit card numbers on the device. Also, be sure to keep data backed up on a PC or server in case your mobile device is gone forever.
Siciliano recommends that laptop users invest in services such as MyLaptopGPS.com.
"This is a tracking software installed in your laptop that when stolen, will silently remove all data from your machine and let you know where the device is via your Internet-based GPS," he said. "Law enforcement can then retrieve your machine and arrest the thief."
Implement End-to-End Encryption
Ensure that your e-mail login and e-mail transfer use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption. If not, hackers can read your e-mails.
"Make sure you are using secure connections when connecting to your e-mail," said Dave Tremel, president of Cranberry Technology Solutions. "If it's corporate e-mail, make sure you are using a VPN connection. If you are using Gmail, Yahoo! or any other Web-based e-mail, make sure you are using the secure login option. This is the default on most services, but not all."