Remote Access through Handheld Devices

>> Sunday, September 06, 2009

remotedesktopTechnological innovations over the past few years have reached new heights.  Although no technological breakthroughs have come to make the market go ga-ga over them, there are some developments that could qualify as highly innovative.  In the past, cellphones have been used to provide people on the go with a communication device that could keep them connected to their associates even while traveling.  Changing market needs turned the cellphone into a device not only for voice communication.  It allowed people to send short messages no matter where they are in the world.  Over time, the world became flat, as thoroughly described by Thomas Friedman in a book.  This means distance is only a physical thing.

The cellphone now has become more than a device for communication.  With the birth of graphical user interface, the need for remote access grew.  From using the telnet protocol, it extended into the wireless communication industry.  The cellphone develops into a remote control, or an access terminal, for personal computers.  It was inevitable for innovators to come up with this technology considering how cellphones have become essential items for millions of people.  It was just a matter of time.  Now, through the use of specialized software, cellphones can now be used to control the personal computer from a remote distance.  A student who forgets to print his assignment can just use his phone to access his PC from school, and voila! the day is saved.  The same is true for people who have to make presentations and have somehow lost their files.  Using their phones can give them access to the original document stored in a PC somewhere.

Gotomypc is the most common application software that allows for remote control of a computer.  Before installing the software, it is necessary to purchase it from the vendor.  From there, the buyer will get access codes to be able to install the software.  Gotomypc runs using Java technology, which displays the Gotomypc icon on your phone.  The software works through the thin client technology, a type of computer architecture that only provides user interface without the hardware devices common in other systems.  It also utilizes FTP and SSH communication to be able to actually download and upload files as well as some security measures.

An important consideration that buyers may have is on hacking.  Will hackers be able to get to your phone without you knowing about it?  Remote access software have some vulnerabilities but are well known to be generally secured since no publicized cases are known about malicious attacks on a phone’s remote access software.  Two things could be deduced from this, either the software is created very securely or, hackers are still trying to figure out how to get around them.  Wireless handheld devices, like smartphones and its network, however, are found to be more vulnerable than its software.  In other words, it’s not the software but the phone itself, which is more vulnerable to attacks.  For instance, there have been reports of a text message that enables a hacker to access and control others’ phones.  Other vulnerabilities can come from downloading applications to your phone using Gotomypc.  Just like the desktop computer, the phone could get viruses and other malwares through this activity.  Moreover, leaving the phone’s bluetooth or infrared open can also cause others to access the phone without the owner’s knowledge.  This is also true when you save sessions or store passwords.  And, of course, once the phone is lost or stolen, remote access software should be uninstalled right away.

Here are some software picks for your smartphones:


Use the PCMobilizr.  It’s relatively new but users find that its features are great.  A little pricey but very efficient.  If you want a 30-day trial go to its website and sign up for the free version.


Telekinesis enables remote access to your Mac from your iPhones.  Among the things it can do are screen capturing, Home directory browsing and even running AppleScripts.  This is currently on its infancy stage, so, expect for some glitches.  But if your operating system is not Mac, you’ll need the TightVNC that comes with fully functional zooming and panning features.

Palm Pre & Treo 600

Use the PalmVNC, which is a free application software that will let you access Windows, Mac, or Unix workstations.

Microsoft Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone (Samsung’s SPH-i700)

PocketView from the GoToMyPC division of Citrix Systems Inc. allows for users to read files, access email and mail files from their computers using their handheld devices.

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