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Securing Files on Palm OS and Windows Mobile

Palm OS includes a built-in feature to secure files. (To view the security options on your Palm, access your System folder and choose Security.) Admittedly, Palm doesn't give you many security options, but you can choose to protect files by labeling them private so that a password is required to gain access to them. Unfortunately, the encryption method Palm uses is flawed, and an intruder can use free Internet tools to access stored data. However, password protection will deter nontechnical thieves. One of the simplest security measures you can take is to lock your device and turn it off when you're not using it (a password is required upon startup). If you're really serious about protecting the files on your PDA but don't want the hassle of locking it every time it's not in use, third-party programs are available that provide a higher level of encryption for the files you're worried about. Some of the security programs available for your Palm are JAWZ DataGator (, Handmark's PDA SafeID (, and Gain's Gator eWallet (

Users of Windows Mobile devices have minimal security options. The devices have a power-on password feature, which offers you a choice of entering a simple four-letter password or a strong alphanumeric password, which is preferable. However, most PDA users shun the power-on password feature because it's inconvenient. If you want to secure data at the file level, you'll have to turn to a third-party vendor for a solution: DeveloperOne's CodeWallet Pro (, eWallet (for passwords only), INCA Internet's nProtect KeyCrypt (, or Motricity's PocketLock (

Neither Palm OS nor Windows Mobile currently offers a good enterprise solution for administrators to use to develop a single policy or to use their existing Group Policies to put restrictions on using these devices within a Windows domain. Hopefully, PDA vendors will develop more security options for their products soon.

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