Since coming onto the market more than a decade ago, iPads have become a popular device for personal and business use due to their portability and versatility. As usage of iPads has increased, there has been a correlating rise in the number of cybersecurity threats aimed at these devices. If your company allows iPads, whether personal or company issued, to be used for conducting business, be sure there is a robust Cyber Security Policy in place to specifically address these devices. In this article, we will discuss the various cybersecurity risks associated with iPads and the ways to mitigate them.
Unsecured Wi-Fi Connections
One of the major cybersecurity risks associated with iPads comes from the use of unsecured Wi-Fi connections. When using public or open Wi-Fi, a hacker can easily access sensitive information transmitted over the network, such as passwords and financial information. To mitigate this risk, it is recommended to use a secure Wi-Fi network whenever possible. Users should always use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) whenever using an unknown or insecure Wi-Fi connection.
Phishing scams are a common cybersecurity threat, and iPad users are not immune. Scammers may send an email or message pretending to be from a trusted source, such as a bank, credit card, or even a friend, asking for personal or financial information. To avoid falling victim to these scams, it is important to verify the source of the message before providing any sensitive information. Use caution before clicking any links or replying to suspicious messages. When in doubt, follow up with the sender directly through a trusted source, such as directly accessing their website, and not through the suspicious email. Companies should consider implementing layers of email security to help identify and filter potential threats.
iPads are vulnerable to malicious apps that can access sensitive information or install malware on the device. To mitigate this risk, it is important to only download apps from trusted sources, such as the Apple App Store, and to regularly update the operating system and apps to ensure they are secure.
Lost or Stolen Devices
Lost or stolen iPads can result in the theft of sensitive information stored on the device. To mitigate this risk, it is recommended to enable the “Find My iPad” feature and to regularly back up the data to a secure location. If the device is lost or stolen, it can be locked and wiped remotely to prevent unauthorized access to the information stored on it. Further, users should enable a strong password that is required to unlock the device, or to utilize the touch ID or facial recognition features of your device.
Unsecured Bluetooth Connections
Bluetooth connections can also pose a cybersecurity risk to iPads, as they can be easily hacked by attackers who are within range of the device. There are several known Bluetooth risks, but most are easy to prevent. To mitigate these risks, it is recommended to disable Bluetooth when not in use and to only connect to trusted devices. Further, only remain ‘discoverable’ when necessary to connect to another device.
Corporate Data Leaks
When using iPads for business purposes, it is important to be aware of the risk of corporate data leaks. Storing sensitive and confidential information on iPads can expose that data to hackers. To mitigate this risk, businesses should implement security policies, such as encryption and secure password policies, to protect the data stored on the device. Futher Mobile Device Management (MDM) software is designed specifically to manage and protect corporate data and network connections.
Remote Access to Corporate Networks
When employees use iPads to access corporate networks remotely, it increases the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information. To mitigate this risk, businesses should implement multi-factor authentication and use a VPN for remote access to the network. Only specific users and devices should be allowed access to remote networks and sensitive information.
Let’s not forget that when an iPad or any portable device is left unattended and unlocked, there is a risk that a person close by may pick up the device and unintentionally share information, either personal or corporate. It is good practice to lock or sleep your device when not in use, even for just a minute, to make a cup of coffee.
Unsecured Cloud Storage
Businesses often use cloud storage to store data on iPads, making it important to choose a secure and reliable cloud storage provider. To mitigate the risk of data loss or theft, businesses should encrypt the data before uploading it to the cloud and ensure that the provider has strong security measures in place.
In conclusion, when using iPads for business purposes, it is important to be aware of the specific risks associated with this use and to implement measures to mitigate these risks. Regular security audits and employee education can also help keep the devices and the information stored on them secure. Employees using these devices should be required to read, accept, and adhere to the company’s Cyber Security Policies.
From a cybersecurity perspective, iPads are no different than any other device but may present an even greater risk due to their size and portability.
While iPads are vulnerable to various cybersecurity threats, following the best practices discussed in this article can help protect your device and the sensitive information stored on it. Regularly updating the operating system and apps, using secure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, and being cautious when downloading apps and responding to emails or messages can help keep your iPad secure.
As with all devices that store or access sensitive information, businesses should consult with an IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) specialist to ensure that the data stored on the asset at the end-of-use is completely wiped when no longer being used or being remarketed.