Gartner: Windows Mobile 5.0 Security Falls Short

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Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 is being touted as a potential “BlackBerry killer,” but major security shortcomings could derail widespread enterprise adoption, analysts warned Friday. The software giant used the Tech Ed conference this week to train the spotlight on a security-centric feature pack for the mobile operating system, promising improved data protection via a nifty feature that wipes the device’s main memory after too many failed password attempts.

Microsoft Corp. argues that the add-on, dubbed MSFP (Messaging & Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0), which ships later this year, is crucial for businesses running Exchange Server 2003 SP2, allowing them to remotely handle data security for smart phones and PDAs.

However, according to a pair of analysts at Gartner Inc., the security improvements “are insufficient and do not meet basic enterprise security needs.” “[The Feature Pack] does not go far enough with security for enterprise-wide deployment,” said a report from Gartner researchers Dion Wiggins and Nick Ingelbrecht. The report recommended that businesses use third-party vendor security add-ons to make Windows suitable for mobile use.

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