VPN-1 SecureClient Now For Handhelds

Security software maker Check Point Software Thursday released its latest version of VPN-1 SecureClient.

This one, designed for Microsoft Windows-Powered personal digital assistant (PDA) and handheld PC devices, addresses the growing need for mobile security in the workplace.

The Israeli-based firm with U.S. headquarters in Redwood City, Calif. says it worked hard with the likes of Microsoft
, Intel , Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer to get the job done.

The company says the software integrates a personal Check Point firewall with secure remote access and centralized management capabilities for better security in wired and wireless environments. The security covers wireless LANs using 802.11, wireless Internet, and traditional dial-up and Ethernet connections.

“Employees are increasingly taking advantage of the convenience of PDAs and handheld PCs. As enterprises extend the boundaries of their networks to these users, centrally securing the communications to and from the devices and protecting the data that resides on them is essential,” says Check Point vice president of marketing Carol Stone. “VPN-1 SecureClient gives enterprises robust, centrally-managed security for Windows-Powered PDA or handheld devices, bolstering security and providing IT managers with added peace of mind.”

The issue of wireless security has been coming to the forefront lately.

Research firm Gartner Group concurs that wireless networks are in the midst of proliferation. The company says 50 percent of all enterprises in the U.S. will have deployed a wireless LAN by 2002, an increase from 21 percent at the end of 2000. Accordingly, Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems Inc. (ISS) says the fact that wireless LANs can easily be accessed by outsiders — friendly or not — means they need strong protection.

And just as perpetrators like hackers and crackers have done to wired networks, they can assault WLANs through the same methods: unauthorized access points; data interception; denial-of-service (DoS) attacks; peer-to-peer sabotage; and wireless laptops to attacks when they roam to public access points, such as airports and hotels.

What is more frightening, ISS claims, is that non-technical employees, while often victims of attacks, are often unaware of these threats. This ignorance can make the comfort of the firewall a false security blanket.

VPN-1 SecureClient will initially support the following Pocket PC devices running the Microsoft Windows operating system and powered by the Intel Personal Internet Client Architecture and the Intel PXA 250 Applications Processor.

That ‘A’ list includes PDAs such as Compaq’s iPaqs and H-P’s Jornada 560 Series Pocket PCs and handheld PCs like H-P’s Jornada 720 Series.

No word yet if the software will be adapted for the Palm operating system or other mobile vendors.

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