Reflections on password security and losing a device

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It’s not entirely clear whether I’ve just simply lost it, or it has actively been stolen. But the difference is an academic one: me and my iPad are no longer together. It’s annoying from an expense point of view (it was scarcely 6 months old) and the incident has revealed that I hadn’t set the security features up quite correctly. That’s tip number one: double check. Password security is important.

Whilst the “Find” feature that Apple offers to users is clever, it’s not much use if the device owner isn’t clever enough to have set it up correctly. Even if the device finds wifi and still has charge, it doesn’t look like they will be able to do all that much with it.

The device itself has a 6 character password on it that I only I know. My best guess is that, if it does fall into nefarious hands, then they will likely just try and erase it and resell the hardware. Everything was backed up to the cloud so I haven’t lost much in the way of information or photos.

But the key concern is regarding payments details and passwords. If they do crack the frontpage security, they potentially have access to a lot of websites. Needless to say, I’ve spent dome boring hours fastidiously resetting important passwords that were stored in the keychain (and disabled it). Email, iTunes, app stores, work passwords, PayPal and the like were my priorities. I doubtless have a great deal more to do. I have also considered cancelling my cards, but my three digit security code remains secure.

In my experience, and rather surprisingly, Apple haven’t been all that useful. I took the time to dig out the reciept (so that’s what electronic receipts sent by email are for!) so I could report the serial number and the device as lost. I’m not sure that will make much difference but it’s done.

It has been a sobering consideration, to assess quite how much personal data my tablet contains that could be used for ill-means. And from a merchant perspective, you may want to consider the same if you’re using your phone or tablet to administer your business. And perhaps most of all when it comes to password security, don’t find yourself feeling like a bloody idiot, like I do.



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