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Jonathan Erickson

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Cell Phone Security? Speak Up

July 10, 2008

Cell phone security? Try selling that to a bunch of kids in middle school, each with his or her own cell phone. To them, security is a word that means "don't let my parents know that I'm loaning you my cell phone so you can call your friend  vacationing in Europe."

To the rest of the bill-paying world, security and cell phones are important issues, which is why the the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is asking for comments on draft guidelines on security considerations for cell phones and PDAs. Part of a series of publications on computer security issues, Guidelines on Cell Phone and PDA Security (Special Publication 800-124 Draft) provide an overview of cell phones and PDA devices in use today and the growing security threats that they face and propose a framework that organizations can use to manage the security risks. Comments on the draft document are due by August 8, 2008, and should be submitted by e-mail to 800-124comments@nist.gov with "Comments SP 800-124" in the subject line.

According to the authors of the guidelines, "The security issues for cell phones and PDAs range beyond those of other computer equipment. Moreover, many common safeguards available for desktop and networked computers are generally not as readily available across a broad spectrum of handheld device types." The draft document notes that some security enhancements in the PC world are becoming available for PDAs and cell phones, including stronger user authentication systems based on biometrics, and firewall, antivirus and intrusion detection software.

Try explaining that to a middle-school telecommunications experts. 

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