Configuring security for your iPad 2 is often an afterthought since Apple products are incorrectly considered by many to be secure forever out of the box. iPads are no different than any other device from a security perspective, they require you to take some action to keep them secure. Here are my recommendations for how to secure your iPad 2 to keep it operating at an optimum level.
What security settings have changed from iPad to the iPad 2?
1. Ability to configure a more secure passcode
The previous iPad only allowed a four digit passcode and the iPad2 comes with that same setup by default. It is possible to increase your password complexity by disabling the simple passcode. To do that Go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock> Simple Passcode and disable it. Now you can use any desired keyboard password to secure the iPad. The password also helps to encrypt your mail and attachments on the iPad, so you increasing password strength is a smart move.
2. Mobileme is now free vs. when the original iPad first came out. This makes it a must use security feature and details on how to use it can be found below.
3. Implement Safari browser security depending on your needs.
Some of these features existed in the original iPad but there have been a few tweaks for the iPad 2.
Safari > Autofill – Remove all autofill to not store any names and passwords. This may be overkill for some users but if you share your iPad 2 with many different people it is a good idea.
Safari > Fraud Warning On – enables alerting for potentially fraudulent sites (false alarms are quite common)
Safari > Turn Java Script off – Not recommended as it breaks a lot of web functionality
Safari > Block Pop Ups – You could experiment with this setting to see how disruptive it is but generally I’d only recommend doing this in the highest security setup where browsing is not a big requirement.
As with many other devices web surfing and email attachments pose the greatest threats to the continued security of your device so exercise good judgement when visiting sites or opening attachments. To check the actual destination of a link examine it by prior to clicking through.
What security settings remain the same from previous iPad security recommendations?
A majority of the security settings from the original iPad still are recommended for the iPad 2.
1. Install all iPad and installed application updates promptly when new updates are available.
When hardware or software is updated by a vendor it is often is due to security vulnerabilities so it is best to stay current with these important updates
- Within App Store check to see if an update is available. App Store icon will show you the number of total updates available.
- To apply all available updates at the bottom of the screen Tap updates then tap update all
2. Backup your important data and and encrypt it within iTunes. You will be glad you have a backup if your device is lost, stolen, or has a significant hardware issue. Backing up data is one of the general information security mitigation strategies to enable a less painful recovery should the need arise. To encrypt: open the iPad in iTunes, click the Summary tab, and check Encrypt iPad backup under the Options heading.
3. Choose your applications carefully – Make sure you choose applications wisely as 3rd party applications are not extensively validated by Apple and they can introduce new sources of vulnerabilities to your iPad 2 (and additional required patches that need to be installed). This is especially important if you will be using your iPad 2 to perform high risk actions such as online banking.
4. Utilize the free Mobileme account functionality.
This functionality was previously a fee based option when the original iPad was released but became a free upgrade with an Apple iOS update. Mobileme has some useful security features that could help minimize security implications if your device is lost or stolen. These features include:
- Find my iPad which displays a message on your iPad if it is lost with hopes that a good samaritan will return it to you. Perhaps some type of reward would also be useful in this circumstance.
- Remote Passcode lock– Allows you to remotely lock your iPad should the need arise.
- Remote Wipe option – In the event that the worst case scenario occurs and your device is stolen you can minimize the damage by remotely wiping the data from the device that was formerly known as your iPad.
5. Set the Auto-Lock feature to automatically lock your iPad 2 after a designated amount of inactivity. You should choose your auto lock time setting based on your normal usage but 30 minutes should work fine for most people.
Go to General > Auto lock choose amount of time (I recommend 30-60 min)
6. Disable Bluetooth if you are not going to use it. If Bluetooth is active it is another potential vulnerability source so if you are not using it shut it off. This is a minor security point but always a good practice to disable unneeded services.
Go to General > Bluetooth, turn bluetooth off
7. Erase all content and settings prior to disposing of your iPad 2 – This setting may feel a long way off since you just got the device but it is important to take some basic steps to protect your data prior to disposal. I have not yet seen how effective this is considered to prevent data recovery but some protection will protect a casual snooper from recovering your data.
To erase all content settings – General > Reset > Erase all content and settings.
Be sure to follow these security tips to help keep your iPad 2 operating at the optimal level. If you enjoyed this article click here to learn about other security applications available in the iTunes store