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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Secure Your Treo with a Password

Although the word "lock" was used quite a bit in the preceding section on the Treo keyboard, you don’t lock the keyboard or touchscreen for security purposes. However, there is a way to lock your device for security purposes, and you should strongly consider taking advantage of this feature. I’m referring to a device password, which can be used to prevent access to your device. The idea is that you create a password for your device and then lock the device; no one can use your device without entering the password.

Your Treo takes the password notion a bit further than most mobile devices by also allowing you to flag certain pieces of data as private, in which case the device password is required to view or edit the data. This is a useful way to separate the general security of device access from the specific security of data access. You can configure the security settings to completely hide private data until the password is entered or to just mask the data. The difference in these settings is subtle but important because private data doesn’t even appear to exist until you enter the password.

Regardless of how far you want to take the private data security issue, I encourage you to at least experiment with using a password to secure your device against unwanted access. Here are the steps you need to follow to establish a device password:

  1. Press the Application button to open the main application screen.

  2. Press the S key to jump near the Security application, and then navigate with the five-way navigator to select the Security application.

  3. Press the Center button to launch the Security application. The Security screen appears (see Figure 3.2) and displays a password option, an Auto Lock option, and a setting for determining how private records are displayed.

    Figure 3.2

    Figure 3.2 The Security screen includes options for establishing a device password and locking the device.

  4. Tap the Password box to create a password for your device. The Password screen appears, prompting you to enter a password and a hint for remembering the password (see Figure 3.3).

    Figure 3.3

    Figure 3.3 The Password screen prompts you to enter a password and a hint to help you remember the password later.

  5. Enter the password and hint, and then tap the OK button. A password verification screen appears and prompts you to enter the password again. Enter the password again and tap OK to finalize the password setting.

The password is now set, but it won’t actually go into effect until you lock your device. In other words, your device must be locked explicitly to take advantage of password protection, unless you want to use the Auto Lock feature. Auto Lock enables you to set your device so that it locks itself automatically under certain circumstances, such as when the device is powered off, at a predetermined time, or after a predetermined amount of idle time. To set the Auto Lock feature for your Treo, follow these steps in the Security screen:

  1. Tap the Auto Lock Device box to access the Auto Lock settings. Before you are shown the settings, you must enter the password for the device (see Figure 3.4). Tap the OK button after entering the password.

    Figure 3.4

    Figure 3.4 You must enter the device password before accessing Auto Lock settings.

  2. After successfully entering the device password, the Lock Device screen appears with several options for the Auto Lock feature (see Figure 3.5). The different Auto Lock settings have to do with how and when you want your device to lock and require a password for re-entry. The default value of Never results in the device never auto-locking, and the On Power Off setting results in the device being locked every time it’s turned off or powered off when idle. The next two options allow you to auto-lock your device based on time—either an exact time of day or an elapsed amount of time that the device sits idle. Any of these settings can work for you, but I find the After a Preset Delay setting to be my favorite; I set the delay to 30 minutes, as shown in Figure 3.5. After selecting your setting for the Auto Lock feature, tap the OK button to accept the change.

    Figure 3.5

    Figure 3.5 The Lock Device screen offers several approaches for auto-locking your device.

  1. Back in the Security screen, if you’d like to test the device lock, tap the Lock & Turn Off button. A screen appears prompting you to confirm that you want to lock and turn off your device. Tap the Off & Lock button to proceed to lock your device and turn it off.

  2. Now turn your device back on by pressing the Power/End button followed by the Center button if the keyboard is locked. You then see the System Lockout screen, which prompts you for the device password before allowing you into the device (see Figure 3.6). Enter the password and tap the OK button to access your Treo.

    Figure 3.6

    Figure 3.6 The System Lockout screen prevents device access unless you enter the device password.

Now that you’ve learned most of what the Security screen has to offer, I might as well tidy things up and finish telling you about the only remaining option. This option, called Current Privacy, enables you to specify how private data is displayed on your device. This private data, also known as private records, can be anything you want—you can flag any record on your device as being private. In doing so, you’re saying that you want access to the data to be limited and require the device password to be entered to view or edit the data.

The Current Privacy option has three possible values: Show Records, Mask Records, or Hide Records. With the Show Records setting, private records can be viewed but can’t be edited until the device password is entered. The Mask Records setting results in the records being visible only in the sense that you know they exist; any content associated with the records is masked so that you can’t see it. The last setting, Hide Records, results in private records being invisible until you change the security option to one of the other settings.

One interesting note about the Current Privacy option is that it applies to all the data on your device. In other words, you can’t selectively mask private data for one application and hide private data for another. All data marked as private falls under the single setting you apply to the Current Privacy option. You learn more about flagging individual pieces of data as private when you explore individual applications in more detail. For example, in Chapter 5, "Managing Treo Contacts," you learn how to mark a contact as private.

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