Symantec Begins Wireless Security Initiative

Symantec and the Internet Education Foundation launched a consumer wireless education effort Tuesday initially aimed at the country’s 56 million wireless Internet users.

The first phase of the campaign will focus on issues related to wireless network and mobile security, including online educational modules for wireless home networking and public Wi-Fi use.

Other initial modules include securing smart phones, PDAs, and other handheld mobile devices commonly used for personal and business purposes.

The modules will feature recommended security tips, instructional Flash animation tutorials, podcasts and security-focused technology solutions.

“We are at an exciting juncture in the development of the wireless Internet,” Congressman Mike Honda, chairman of the Congressional Internet Caucus’ Wireless Task Force, said in a statement.

“Sales of laptops and portable devices continue to skyrocket as more and more Americans demand mobile Internet access, but with this increased usage come added security risks.”

According to Symantec , many consumers and business executives have only a rough grasp of wireless and mobile security issues, tending to think only in terms of wireless data on laptops rather than the full spectrum of wireless technology.

Studies commissioned by Symantec show that almost 50 percent of consumers with home wireless access points are not using encryption to protect their networks.

The studies further show that 60 percent of respondents store confidential information or client data on their handheld mobile devices.

Almost 30 percent use mobile devices to access online bank and credit card accounts, sometimes from public Wi-Fi.

“While this technology expands accessibility and productivity, it introduces complexity and security risk as wireless networks and handheld mobile devices become a new target for hackers and thieves,” said Sarah Hicks, vice president of mobile and wireless solutions for Symantec.

Hicks added: “The increased risk of information theft and malicious code affecting handheld mobile devices demands more education and vigilance from consumers and small office/home office users alike.”

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