Friday, August 31, 2001

Stock Focus: Wireless Security

NEW YORK - Network and computer security companies have gotten punished along with the rest of the technology sector. But while valuations may have fallen off, worries about electronic security haven't, particularly regarding wireless technologies.

"Wireless security continues to be a chief concern of both enterprise customers and users in general," says Francesca Mabarak, senior analyst for mobile technologies at the Yankee Group, a Boston-based technology research firm.

The idea of clever hackers tapping into wireless signals has stirred anxieties. The ongoing convergence of cellular phones and handheld computers creates new concerns. "When people start losing wireless devices with important information on them," Mabarak says, "there's a major problem if those devices fall into the wrong hands."

One company offering security solutions for wireless users is RSA Security (nasdaq: RSAS - news - people ). The firm's encryption technologies, which secure data in transit by altering it according to a mathematical formula, have been widely adopted for both wireline and wireless use. Wireless customers include Ericcson (nasdaq: ERICY - news - people ), Matsushita Communication (nyse: MC - news - people ) and Nokia (nyse: NOK - news - people ). Matsushita Communication chose RSA Security's encryption software to develop security for its phones that support i-mode, the popular wireless Internet service offered by Japan's NTT DoCoMo.

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