iPad Child Porn Case Reveals Powerful Security Of Apple Devices

iPad Child Porn Case Reveals Powerful Security Of Apple Devices

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on September 10 that the FBI were not pursuing a child porn case, which stemmed from an iPad owned by North Las Vegas Mayor, John Lee. Almost any computer can be secured to some extent, especially by experienced users, but this case reveals how powerful the default settings on an iPad can be when it comes to protecting user privacy.

Before getting into the details of iPad security, I want to make clear that neither the local police nor the FBI are reported to have “enough information” from the iPad to pursue a case and that the matter is considered closed by the North Las Vegas Police Department. There appears, however, to be some confusion over how the iPad came to be handed to the police, with the official police report indicating that they were contacted by the mayor after his receipt of a suspicious e-mail while using the iPad.

It is reported that after a short investigation, the iPad was taken to an Apple Store by the detective, and wiped. That’s where it becomes interesting for security-conscious iPad users. The FBI don’t appear to have been interested in pursuing the investigation when requested to by the local police. It’s widely known that the data on an encrypted iPad is almost impossible to recover once wiped. This was confirmed to the Review-Journal by Neil Broom, a computer forensics specialist.

“If the iPad had been wiped before police picked it up, law enforcement wouldn’t be able to recover the deleted information.”

Macworld explains that this security stems from the automatic encryption of data on iOS devices, such as the iPad, and with wiping the device destroying the encryption key, the iPad data is left beyond the reach of most feasible attacks.

InfoWorld goes further, and describes iPads, and iPhones as the “safest computers” available, noting that the number of vulnerabilities exposed in iOS each year number about the same as traditional PCs face every week.

The problem that iPad users faced is that historically it was hard to fully replace a laptop with one, just for security reasons, due to the screen size being impractical for some applications. With the new iPad Pro coming in with a laptop-sized screen,and an optional keyboard and stylus, the disadvantages of working on an iPad are diminishing quickly. Given that iPads are easy to use, extremely secure by default, even in inexperienced hands, the advantages to corporations and privacy-conscious consumers are clear.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

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