Research Notes

Secure your iPad

We are carrying so much of our lives on our mobile devices these days that the loss of an iPad or smart phone means more than just the loss of the device – a lot more. Spend some time securing the information on your device. This will protect you not only should a device be lost, but as you use your device to browse the web, make purchases and other tasks involving sensitive information. Here are some suggestions.

First, spend a few minutes and set your iPad up to deal with the worst case scenario – if your iPad should be lost or stolen. Apple has a free service called Find My iPad. It is currently located on their Mobile Me platform so you’ll have to set up a free Mobile Me account there in order to use it. This service will show you on a map approximately where your iPad (or iPhone or iPod Touch) is located. From Mobile Me you can send an instruction to play a sound to help you find it or you can remotely lock the device. In a worst case scenario, you can remotely erase everything on it. But, in order for this to work, you must first set it up on your iPad.

Go to Settings and make sure Location Services is turned on. Now, still in Settings, go to Mail, Contacts and Calendars and make sure that Push is on in Fetch New Data. Still in Mail, Contacts and Calendars, add your Mobile Me account then turn on the Find My iPad service.

Now, if you can’t find your iPad, go to the Mobile Me site, log in and click on the Find My iPhone section. A map appears showing where your device is located and a command pane lets you determine what you want to do from there.

For day-to-day security, you can protect your data by encrypting it. It’s as easy as setting a passcode to get into your device.

Set a passcode by going to Settings > General > Passcode Lock and entering a 4-digit passcode. You’ll be asked to do it again to verify. Once the passcode is set, you’ll have to enter the code every time you want to use your iPad. It also does something else quite useful. It turns on the built-in encryption feature providing a level of security for your data. Also in the General Settings is an Auto-Lock option which lets you set how long your iPad remains idle before it is automatically locked.

I’m a firm believer in the need for secure passwords for all my online sites and services. I also know it’s important to have different passwords at each site. I don’t have the ability – or inclination – to remember dozens of mile-long passwords so I use a password management application to do it for me. I use 1Password [Mac, Win, iOS & Android] on my desktop and both my iPad and Touch. It allows me to store not only login information for web sites, but other personal information like bank accounts, credit card info and software licenses. The application’s database is encrypted and there’s a synchronization feature that keeps the data on the devices updated with the desktop. It will generate long, complex passwords for sites which I don’t need to remember. I just click on the 1Password plugin for my browser and it will input the correct login information for that site – after I enter the password to my 1Password data. Yes, that’s the only password I have to remember. It’s worth every penny!

 

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