Electronic Christmas gifts a risk factor for companies

London, December 19 2005 – This year, MP3 players, USB sticks and other fashionable mobile devices will once again elicit delight under the Christmas tree. However, most people don’t want to just use the portable music players or minicomputers privately: they will want to bring them into work. For this reason Utimaco, the world leading supplier of data security solutions, advises all IT administrators to increase checks to ensure compliance with corporate IT security guidelines. Especially after Christmas the use of privately owned devices in the workplace has to be restricted or completely forbidden. To provide guidance, Utimaco has published a list of five administrator top tips.

In the last quarter approximately 6.5 million Apple iPods were sold. Given an average storage capacity of 3 Gigabytes each, this means a total storage capacity of more than 19 Petabytes.

There are many IT security stumbling blocks for companies. Tiny mobile devices such as iPods and MP3 players make it very easy to virtually invisibly copy data from the corporate network. Nowadays, gigabytes of data can be downloaded in minutes with mobile hard disks. This data export can become a threat to a company’s ability to continue in business, either through potential damage to its image, business confidence or its competitiveness if customer data or internal analytical data is disclosed.

The risk of malware sneaking onto the corporate network via mobile data media such as MP3 players or USB sticks continues to swell. All it takes is for one employee to unknowingly download infected files from an external mobile device onto their work PC, and then run them, to cause harm. Fixing the damage is expensive and can, in the worst case scenario, cause data loss with serious consequences for continued business.

To ‘kill several birds with one stone’, IT administrators should employ an access rights management system to control the ports on the desktop PCs and notebooks in the company, or even block them, from external devices. For everyone who wants to benefit from mobile devices, and does not want to simply give up running their business, Utimaco has put together a list of five administrator tips, which can be viewed at: http://www.utimaco.com/toptips

“It’s a fact that many staff, and also IT administrators, are not even aware of the security risks caused by the use of private mobile devices, such as portable music players, memory media, PDAs and smartphones,” said Ansgar Heinen, security expert at Utimaco. “For this reason, companies should train their staff in how to use mobile devices securely, and educate them of the dangers. In addition, the risk for all concerned can be reduced considerably by implementing appropriate security guidelines in the workplace and, above all, if every employee complies with a few simple rules.”

Utimaco Safeware AG
Utimaco is a leading technology manufacturer of professional IT security solutions. The security technology and solutions developed by Utimaco protect the electronic data of companies and government bodies against unauthorised access and guarantee that business processes and administrative procedures in the electronic world are binding and confidential. Utimaco Safeware’s Personal Device Security division supplies technologies and solutions for mobile security in the areas of high-level authentication including biometric techniques, encryption and integrity checks. Its products and solutions secure data in terminal server and Citrix environments, on the PC, notebook and PDA at the workplace, and on the move. Utimaco Safeware’s Transaction Security division specialises in security solutions for e-business, e-government and e-payment based on its own technologies (telecommunications management systems, hardware security modules, gateways for e-mail security, authenticatio
n and digital signatures, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), and PKI-enabled applications).

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