Home > Articles > Security > General Security and Privacy

  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Now for the Real Security Work

Let's discuss passcodes, passwords, and passphrases.

The only thing protecting your information (and your friends' and family's information, such as phone numbers) is the passthingie you configure on your iPad 2. Maybe you have little more than music and a few magazines stored. Maybe a simple four-digit passcode is enough. Only you know for sure. Just remember, those four numbers are the only thing keeping your information secure.

Now let's imagine that you have more than a few songs and magazines. You've visited your financial services websites. You allowed the system to cache your passwords, and who remembers the important passwords stored on your iPad 2? Remember the functions your websites provide? Many people allow money transfers to other accounts. Your four-digit passcode is all that prevents someone from grabbing your money. This makes using 1-1-1-1 a silly choice.

Four-digit PINS are the standard for ATM cards, but many credit cards and some ATM debit cards limit your losses when they're hacked. I don't know of any financial services companies that limit your losses when a hacker uses your iPad 2 and your password to transfer your money offshore. Four-digit passcodes may not be enough for your iPad 2.

Are you considering a password? Most passwords are just that—a simple and predictable word that we hope hackers won't guess. How many guesses are needed for your password?

The iPad 2 penalizes for bad guesses. It will give you a timeout—a delay that slows your ability to keep guessing. Make hackers work for it: Use a passphrase—lots of words strung together that make wrong guesses very likely. Use unpredictable combinations of words no dictionary is likely to list (and no one is likely to associate with you). Don't overuse the same passphrase at multiple sites. xkcd.com has great passphrase advice at http://xkcd.com/936/ and http://xkcd.com/792/. I laughed when I first saw these cartoons, and I share them with others often—but only after giving credit to xkcd as the authorized source.

If your iPad 2 has important information, you need a passphrase. Use something that's easy to type on the virtual keyboard. (Shoulder surfing is so very easy on an iPad 2. The keys light up a bit and stay lit too long.) Choose a passphrase that's fairly easy to type and is unlikely to require you to enter it multiple times because you hit the wrong key.

Let's configure your passphrase, now that you have one ready. Open Settings and select General. Scroll down to Auto-Lock, Passcode Lock, and Restrictions.

I recommend enabling an Auto-Lock. Leave your iPad 2 unattended for a minute, and someone has stolen it. Auto-Lock will help to guarantee that your system locks. Only you can decide which Auto-Lock value is good for you. Too short, and every distracting phone call locks you needlessly. Too long, and locking won't occur in time to protect you.

Now click the Off link in Passcode Lock. This moves you from a four-digit passcode to a password or passphrase.

On this page, I set Require Passcode to Immediately. Other settings undercut Auto-Lock security. Unless the lock is applied immediately, the hacker may be able to reopen the screen before it truly locks. Remember the "magic magnet" attack?

You may not find the iPad 2 Cover Lock/Unlock setting I mentioned earlier. Put a kitchen magnet on the front side of the iPad 2, near the volume switch. This dupes the iPad 2 into thinking that you have a SmartCover. Now you can enable or disable the iPad 2 Cover Lock/Unlock. Please notice that the default setting is unsecure. Push the slider to OFF to keep some hacker from grabbing your data.

Another useful setting wipes your data if the wrong passcode is used 10 times. If you want to secure a child's iPad 2 use, the Restrictions settings might help. You can set a second passcode and control the applications and functions that your juvenile iPad 2 user can use. If your teenage son tries to escape your control, after six failed attempts, he gets a one-minute timeout Number 7 is magic and puts one quizzical teen on timeout for five minutes. Number 8 failed login gives 15 minutes in timeout. The ninth bad guess puts him on a 60 minute timeout. Overall, the Restrictions may not have as strong a security purpose as other functions, but by making it available, Apple is showing how much this iPad 2 is a more secure and safe tool for Internet browsing.

Have We Done Enough?

Overall, the iPad 2 is a very useful tool, which can be configured to be reasonably secure. Once you've determined your security needs and made appropriate settings, you should have an iPad 2 that doesn't open access to your information to just anyone. If someone steals your iPad 2, Auto-Lock and requiring the passcode immediately provide some assurance that your cached passwords are safe. If you choose a difficult-to-guess passphrase, your protected information may be wiped away at the tenth incorrect guess.

If you work for an organization that's looking for an extensible mobile device with good security abilities, review Apple's iPad in Business "Resources" page. There, you'll learn more about the hardware-based encryption abilities and other great security technologies.

Is the iPad 2 the best device ever? I'm not sure. Is it a marked improvement on past devices? Yes, it is.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020