How To Ensure Your Tablet Is Secure

Tablet security requires more than just aping the steps you take to protect a phone running the same OS. Here are the issues you should consider.

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We've run through the basics of how to secure a smartphone in the past, and all of the same requirements apply to your tablet as well. Here's a quick and dirty summary:

  • Set up a password or swipe pattern so your device can't be accessed by unauthorised users. (Remember to avoid the most common password mistakes.)
  • Enable a device recovery system (such as Prey) so you can track your device if you misplace it.
  • Make sure you have a remote wipe option set up as part of that as well.
  • Install security software (if available — iOS bans most security apps) to minimise risks from malware and unauthorised data access.
    • We've also covered the main considerations for tablet security in business recently. An analysis by Context Information Security found that in a business content, the BlackBerry PlayBook offered a most secure environment than either the iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab. However, every single device had some security flaws that needed to be overcome in a business context.

      A major issue for tablets is that they will often give access to systems and documents typically used on the desktop, but won't always match those with desktop-level security policies. In a business environment, a tablet with SD card storage is a threat, since it's trivially easy to remove that card and read it on another device. Ideally, apps will store data in an encrypted format, but that's something you'll need to check on an app-by-app basis. (You should always check permissions every time you install an app, but it's an issue that's often neglected.)

      Beyond that, a simple but often neglected problem: don't leave your tablet in the seat pocket of a plane. I've lost track of the number of times I've seen people race back onto a plane after realising they've left their all-but-invisible tablet behind.

      Lifehacker 101 is a weekly feature covering fundamental techniques that Lifehacker constantly refers to, explaining them step-by-step. Hey, we were all newbies once, right?


    FYI - The "Most common password mistakes" link leads back to this page.

    I've always wondered - even with a password or pattern set, if an android device fails can a technician bypass it by some method (hence gaining access to email via gmail app) or in the process of repairing it will you be asked to divulge? Or is wiping the device the first thing they do? Anyone know?

      I recently sent in a tablet for a warranty claim, and throughout the process they make it abundantly clear that you will lose all data on the tablet (I wiped the tab first, so I don't know how true that is though).

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