Apple's latest greatest toy, iPad 3, shipped today. But before you brave the lines at your nearest Apple or other mobile store, here are a few safety tips to remember.
Stay On The Alert For Suspicious Activity: On mobile devices such as the iPad, malware and scams are often distributed via malicious or infected links. Pay close attention to your mobile bill—with an especially close eye on your SMS and Internet usage—says Axelle Apvrille, Fortinet security mobile antivirus researcher. Report any suspicious activity or aberrations to AV vendors, such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Store Passwords Safely: Don't store passwords—especially passwords to sensitive accounts such as banking or PayPal--in a browser-based application, Apvrille says. You'll be giving miscreants the keys to the kingdom should you become the victim of a cyber attack and unintentionally download information-stealing malware. Instead, invest in a reliable and well-established password protection application.
Avoid Geo-Location Apps: Don't let an iPad geo-location app publicly reveal your current location, or any other private data, Aprville says. The more information you reveal of your whereabouts, the more you put yourself at risk for attack--or at least let hackers and other miscreants know where your new iPad is.
Avoid Jailbreaks: Don't jailbreak your iPad, Apvrille says. Or at least be cautious if you absolutely need to do so. While it may open the platform for new and interesting apps not approved by the App Store, it also swings the door wide open for hackers to easily distribute malware and questionable apps on users' devices. Best not to give them an easy way in.
Update Frequently: Keep your device in sync with iTunes and stay on top of the latest performance and security updates. Updates will keep the iPad fortified with the latest security features and plug security holes, some of which may already be exploited in active attacks. Updating frequently narrows that window of potential infection.
Set Up A Passcode Feature: In light of the fact that the iPad doesn't automatically require a password, the data is fair game to anyone who gets a hold of the device. Setting up a passcode or device lock system is a good idea if you know you might leave your device laying around unattended or if you're in situations—such as the airport, coffee shops, or taxi cabs—where it may get lost or stolen. You can do this by going to the Settings tab, followed by General and switching on the Passcode Lock feature.
**Bolster The Device With Other Security Features: **You can ensure your device is equipped or updated with e-mail session encryption, as well as a slew of other security features such as remote device wipe if it gets lost or stolen, and auto lock after a predetermined period of inactivity. You can also choose to switch on a feature that wipes the device after 10 failed login attempts. (however, if you implement the latter, you'll want to make sure you backup your data frequently and take pains to remember your password.)
Encrypt Your Data: Users have the option of encrypting their data when they back it up via iTunes, which will provide an extra layer of security should your iPad fall into the wrong hands without your knowledge or consent.
Play It Safe With Safari: Apple's flagship browser might not be entirely secure, but there are ways you can make your browsing experience on your new iPad a tad safer. For one, you can activate fraud alerts and choose the block pop-up options. As with any browser, regularly clear cache, browsing history and cookies, and of course, install all browser security updates.
Disable Autofill: Disabling autofill will prevent others (kids, friends, family or unauthorized users) from easily obtaining personal information that can be used on Web-based forms and applications.