Data protection for PDAs

Data protection for PDAs

As more Pocket PC devices are plugged into the corporate network, companies should take security measures to ensure that any sensitive data on such devices is encrypted. After all, Pocket PC devices are small, so they are prime targets for theft and loss. Applian Technologies' PocketLock provides a very easy way to encrypt files and directories on PocketPC devices.

PocketLock boasts a slick GUI that provides access to all its functions. From the main menu, users can select to encrypt or decrypt a file or folder. After selecting an option and choosing the target file or folder, the user is prompted to enter the password. The screen fills with a numeric keypad that allows quick entry of a numeric PIN. PocketLock also accepts input from any of the Pocket PC functions such as the keyboard or letter recogniser, providing great flexibility. Users can enter any password, as long or as short as they want. Of course, the longer the password, the more secure it is.

The default encryption in PocketLock is ARC-4, a 128-bit RC4-compatible encryption method. Installing Microsoft's High Encryption Pack for Pocket PC will provide you with a few additional encryption options. PocketLock encrypts the file and adds a .lock extension to the file name. Knowing this, users can quickly identify which files have been encrypted when browsing a file list.

PocketLock does not encrypt .exe or .dll files or anything in the /Windows directory on the Pocket PC. A desktop version also exists that makes it easy to access encrypted files on a desktop or laptop instead of the handheld. Not all encrypted files can be opened on transfer. Files that are converted during the ActiveSync process, such as Word and Excel documents, cannot be opened after being encrypted and copied between a PC and Pocket PC. At $19.25, PocketLock is good value, and compared to the cost of sensitive data becoming public information, the price is immaterial.

The bottom line

Business Case: Pocket PCs are beginning to infiltrate the corporate environment and security measures need to be implemented. This tool provides an easy-to-use solution to encrypt and decrypt files on Pocket PCs.

Technology Case: PocketLock provides up to 168-bit encryption and the freedom to select any password. Transferring certain files between a PC and Pocket PC can be troublesome.


+ Intuitive user interface.

+ Provides up to 168-bit encryption.


- None significant.

Cost: $A19.25.

Platform(s): Pocket PC.

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