Keeping an electronic device secure, be it a computer or a tablet PC, involves different measures from installing various security programs to practicing safe Internet surfing. With mobile devices like I Pads and other tablet PCs, security measures are varied, some are based on internal settings and some require external applications to be installed. In this article, learn how to increase the security of an I Pad, with the following security mechanisms.
Simple I Pad Security Measures
Auto-lock your I Pad
This is a no-brainer. Your I Pad should auto-lock itself when not in use. This feature is handy as at times you can forget to lock the tablet. You can turn on the feature and also set a time limit within which the tablet will automatically lock. To enable auto-lock, go to Settings → General → Auto-Lock.
Set up a pass code
Just like a keypad lock or pin lock for phones, you can enable your I Pad to be unlocked only when the correct pass code is entered at the lock screen. This prevents unauthorized access, especially from nosy parkers or sneaks, who pretend to be checking out the device but actually want to go through your files. A pass code is also useful if the device is stolen or lost. You can access the pass code feature through the following path on your I Pad: Settings → General → Pass code Lock. Here you can turn on the feature, set a pass code and increase the number of characters and difficulty of the pass code.
Sync data regularly
Why should you sync your I Pad’s data to a PC? Firstly, it always helps to create a backup of your data, be it media or text. Creating a regular and updated backup means even if you lose the I Pad or the data is compromised in any manner, you can easily restore it. Another advantage in syncing, is that for storing sensitive information, a PC is a more secure location than a tablet PC. Data synced to your I Cloud account is encrypted and safe against theft.
Always connect to secure and trusted Wi-Fi networks
Wi-Fi networks can be dangerous and useful at the same time. They are available everywhere, providing instant Internet access. But public unsecured networks or networks that spring out of anywhere, can be fraught with hidden dangers. So make sure your I Pad connects to a network you know and trust, preferably secured. If you need network access urgently, avoid handling sensitive online transactions, like online purchasing or checking emails, on such networks.
No matter what security mechanisms you use, if you are a careless web user, your I Pad will not remain secure for long. Be careful while you browse, such as avoiding entrusted sites without certificates or downloading a program without checking its actual use. Use sensitive data carefully to avoid being phished. Emails are a favorite entry point for viruses and malware, so check attachments and do not open mails from people you don’t know. Access emails through secure connections by enabling SSL connections in your email server. You can do this by accessing Settings → Mail → Account → Advanced → Use SSL.
If the device is accessed by multiple users, then as an extra security measure, you can clear details of your browsing by deleting entries in history, cookies and cache. To do so, go to Settings → Safari , there are 3 options here: Clear History, Clear Cookies and Clear Cache. Select them one-by-one and clear them. If your I Pad is being used by someone else, it also helps to turn off the auto fill feature, so your passwords aren’t automatically entered. To do so, tap Settings → Safari → Auto fill. Bluetooth does not actually come under Internet usage but since it can be used to transfer data between devices, it is also a vulnerable entry point. Turn off the I Pad’s Bluetooth when not in use.
Advanced iPad Security Measures
Use a VPN
To send confidential emails or documents over a network, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), set up between your I Pad and the receiving/sending device, such as your corporate inbox. Data sent over a VPN is encrypted and secure, so even data transfer over a public network is made safe. You will need to set up the VPN on your I Pad as well as on the computer with the secure data. Obtain the VPN settings and choose Settings → General → Network → VPN on your I Pad, to set up the network.
Place access restrictions on certain programs
An extra step in surfing smart is restricting what sites can be opened or what programs can be installed on your I Pad, especially if you are sharing the device with other users. Also known as parental controls, restrictions can be placed on browsing sites through Safari, viewing YouTube content, handling apps and even adding friends in the Game Center. To enable or disable restrictions on different programs, access Settings → General → Restrictions.
Do not jailbreak the I Pad
Jail breaking is a massive temptation, as a jail broken I Pad can download and run a lot of external applications and themes, which are not Apple-sanctioned. But keep in mind, that when you open something up, you are making it vulnerable to good and bad elements. The I Pad has its own defense system in the form of a 256-bit AES encryption technique embedded in the hardware itself. This Data Protection feature cannot be disabled by the user. But jail breaking has unpredictable effects and could compromise this layer, exposing your I Pad to threats.
Auto-erase data with too many incorrect pass code attempts
If your iPad is lost or stolen, your data should be erased from the device, to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. You can set your I Pad to delete its data automatically, if the pass code has been entered incorrectly 10 times. This self-deleting mechanism is especially effective, in case the iPad has been stolen and the thief repeatedly tries to enter a pass code. It can be set through the following path: Settings → General → Pass code Lock → Erase Data.
Enable the “Find my I Pad” feature
This handy security feature of the I Pad, literally allows you to easily find your phone wherever you have placed it. If you lose the I Pad, use the “find my I Pad” app on another is device or a PC to locate its position on a map. The program will also cause your I Pad to emit a sound, so you can locate it nearby. But the amazing ability of this mechanism, is that you can use the program to remotely lockdown the device, by setting a pass code. So until the I Pad is in your hands, it cannot be unlocked. You can even erase the data present on the I Pad remotely, using the Remote Wipe feature. This prevents your personal and private information from ever falling into the wrong hands. Once you get your iPad back, you can restore its data using the backup created in your I Cloud account. This feature must be enabled and configured on the I Pad and an account set up using the I Cloud. The “Find my I Pad” app should be present on another is device, like an I Phone or another I Pad or can be used on a Mac PC as a program.
Arm your I Pad with effective apps
There’s no denying the usefulness of apps but they can be vulnerable entry points for malware and viruses to attack the I Pad. The Apple is handles apps in a unique yet secure way, effectively maintaining the device’s security. Apps exist as independent entities, sandboxed and isolated. They cannot talk to each other or exchange data. They cannot access system files and resources. Apple carefully monitors and inspects third-party apps before approving them for I Pad use. The is carries out runtime checks to ensure the app is working in the right manner. As a user, you can ensure the security of your I Pad by downloading and using only Apple-sanctioned apps. There are a number of third-party security apps that can enhance your I Pad’s security levels such as Indigo’s Virus Barrier or Symantec VeriSign Identity Protection.
Be regular with OS updates
Recently a security glitch in the I Pad 2 was discovered, wherein the tablet enclosed in an Apple Smart Cover, could be unlocked simply by opening the cover! Even a magnet could be used to break into an I Pad, even with a pass code lock. Apple has completely resolved the issue with an OS update in the form of the is 5.0.1 patch. OS updates exist for such reasons, to solve any bugs and to enhance the functioning of the device. Any I Pad security issues are resolved through such updates, by strengthening the defenses of the operating system and making it aware of the latest vulnerabilities. Update the OS of your I Pad as patches come along, to keep it up-to-date.
Aside from technical security measures, you should be careful with the I Pad physically, especially if you store sensitive information on it. Do not leave it lying around or pass it around a lot. The I Pad is an “IT” tech gadget, whose appeal is universal from a sorority chick to a corporate bigwig. It is also a favorite and easy target for thieves, so make sure to secure it digitally and hang on to it physically!
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