SOURCE: Symantec

March 07, 2006 08:00 ET

Symantec and Internet Education Foundation Launch Consumer-Focused Wireless Security Initiative

Goal to Reach 56 Million Wireless Internet Users

CUPERTINO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 7, 2006 -- Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC) and the Internet Education Foundation (IEF), through its GetNetWise coalition, today announced the Wireless Security Initiative (WSI), a joint educational campaign and partnership to inform and protect consumers and small businesses against wireless security threats and vulnerabilities. Symantec and the IEF introduced the first phase of their campaign that will focus on issues related to wireless network and mobile device security. The WSI's objective will focus on reaching the at least 56 million "wireless ready" users -- the number of Americans who say they have used a Wi-Fi enabled laptop or cell phone to access the World Wide Web wirelessly, according to a Pew Internet & American Life report.

Elements of the Wireless Security Initiative will include online educational modules on wireless home networking and public Wi-Fi use, followed by modules on securing smart phones, PDAs, and other handheld mobile devices commonly used for personal and business purposes. The modules will feature recommended security tips, instructional Flash animation tutorials, informative podcasts, and useful security-focused technology solutions. The first module on Wi-Fi security is available at and will be mirrored on the GetNetWise consumer safety Web site

"We are at an exciting juncture in the development of the wireless Internet," said Congressman Mike Honda, Chair, Wireless Task Force, Congressional Internet Caucus, who will participate in the launch event. "Sales of laptops and portable devices continue to skyrocket as more and more Americans demand mobile Internet access, but with this increased usage come added security risks. I commend the GetNetWise Coalition and Symantec Corporation for launching an educational campaign that will empower consumers to take simple and common sense precautions to protect the integrity of their wireless devices."

"Wireless technology has changed the way we communicate and how we conduct business," said Sarah Hicks, vice president of mobile and wireless solutions for Symantec. "While this technology expands accessibility and productivity, it introduces complexity and security risk as wireless networks and handheld mobile devices become a new target for hackers and thieves looking to disrupt usage and steal personal information and business-critical data. The increased risk of information theft and malicious code affecting handheld mobile devices demands more education and vigilance from consumers and small office/home office (SOHO) users alike."

Many consumers and business executives have only a rough grasp of wireless and mobile security issues and tend to think only in terms of wireless data on laptops rather than the full spectrum of wireless technology from Wi-Fi networks to handheld mobile devices. According to studies commissioned by Symantec, almost 50 percent of consumers with home wireless access points are not using encryption to protect their networks. Sixty percent of respondents store confidential business or client data on their handheld mobile devices and send or receive emails that include confidential business data and sensitive client information. Almost 30 percent also use their mobile devices to access online bank and credit card accounts, often from public Wi-Fi networks.

"Today's consumer demands the convenience and flexibility to access e-mail and make transactions in places ranging from the home to their local coffee shop," explained Tim Lordan, Executive Director for the IEF. "As wireless devices proliferate, we must ensure that their security is taken as seriously as their contribution to our lives."

The Internet Education Foundation and Symantec will continue to provide consumers and SOHO users with new content throughout the year. Users of a variety of wireless technologies can become better informed of vulnerabilities and take necessary precautions to minimize increasing risks by accessing the Wireless Security Initiative at

About GetNetWise

GetNetWise is a public service brought to you by Internet industry corporations and public interest organizations to help insure that families have safe, educational, and entertaining online experiences. The GetNetWise coalition wants Internet users to be only "one click away" from the resources they need to make informed decisions about their family's use of the Internet.

About Symantec

Symantec is the world leader in providing solutions to help individuals and enterprises assure the security, availability, and integrity of their information. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Symantec has operations in more than 40 countries. More information is available at

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