Windows smartphones get grown-up encryption

Mobile security specialist, Safeboot, has launched one of the first products that can transparently encrypt and decrypt data held on Windows mobile PDAs and smartphones.

Data Encryption and Secure Access Control for Windows Mobile is unusual in that it integrates with the device, and requires no user intervention other than a passphrase.

All data -- including databases, appointments, and calendars -- are scrambled and unscrambled without the user being aware it is happening. In addition, specified data folders and media cards added to the device can also be included in the profile.

Conventional PDA encryption systems usually need to be set up by the user on a device-and-file basis, in the style of a desktop or laptop.

If passphrases are forgotten -- likely in a corporate setup -- Safeboot has a facility whereby they can be reset via a web-based webHelpdesk tool after passing through a challenge-and-response authentication system.

"A lot of information people used to carry around on PCs they now carry around on smartphones or pocket PCs," said Paul Parke of Safeboot.

"SafeBoot Device Encryption for Windows Mobile allows organizations to take advantage of the Smartphone and PDA revolution -- without compromising the protection of their confidential information."

The company claims that lower performance of pocket PCs, as compared to desktops should not be affected by the burden of encrypting on-the-fly, as data volumes are small.

Whole-data encryption products are still thin on the ground for mobile devices. Safeboot has made its name by selling an equivalent product for desktop computers.

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John E. Dunn

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