Enterprise Mobile Device Security: Personal Symbian Device Protection - dummies

Enterprise Mobile Device Security: Personal Symbian Device Protection

By Rich Campagna, Subbu Iyer, Ashwin Krishnan, Mark Bauhaus

As an administrator managing mobility for an enterprise environment, you want to enforce certain policies for all personal devices being used at work, including Symbian devices. Devices running Symbian operating system include Nokia’s smartphones, such as the N-series and E-series devices. Users can take the following actions to protect their personal devices from loss or theft:

  • Locate the lost device using GPS. When a Symbian phone is first purchased, the user should inquire with the wireless carrier whether a GPS locating service is available. Some carriers offer services for various types of phones for a nominal monthly or annual charge.

    Alternatively, vendors like McAfee WaveSecure or Kaspersky offer online services that users can buy to help locate Nokia devices. These services largely work in the same way as MobileMe for Apple iOS devices: They provide a web-based interface that users can log in to, in order to locate the missing phone. These services typically cost $20–30 per year and can help alleviate panic when a phone is lost.

  • Remotely lock or wipe the device. If the user is unable to find the device using GPS, many Symbian devices have built-in capabilities to remotely lock the device or remotely wipe it and reset it to factory default settings. The device can also be wiped automatically if a wrong passcode is entered too many times. These settings are built into the device itself and can be activated easily.

    To set up remote locking and wiping before the device is lost or stolen, users must do these two things: Enable remote locking and set a wipe message. The steps are somewhat different depending on which device the users own, so they may need check the device’s documentation for clarification.

    If it’s an N97 phone, for example, users should go to Settings→Phone→Phone Mgmt. →Security Settings→Phone and SIM card. Users then see a Remote Phone Locking option that can be either enabled or disabled.


    Enabling that setting activates this feature, which works by sending an SMS message from another phone to the lost phone with a message — like “wipephone” — that the user has set on the phone. Once the setting is activated, the user can remotely lock or wipe the device by sending an SMS message with the text he configured on the device.

    Wiping the device removes all personal contents from the device, leaving it in a factory-default state. This makes regular backups all the more important. Regular backups can save the user in such situations by enabling him to restore to a previously saved configuration.

  • Remotely set off an alarm. If a user can’t find his lost Symbian device, he may want to remotely set off alarms on it. Many Symbian devices have built-in capabilities to remotely wipe the device when a SIM card change is detected.

    This prevents a thief from simply removing the phone’s SIM card and replacing it with a different one. When such a change is attempted, the device wipes its own contents, thereby preventing any personal data from being visible to the thief.

    Even if the person is left with a stolen Nokia device with factory default settings, no personal data is compromised. At the end of the day, that’s what matters to prevent identity fraud from occurring. Users can check the device’s documentation for information on how to set a remote alarm.