Securing the Nexus 7

Securing the Nexus 7

Summary: Simple steps you should take to protect your Nexus 7 from hackers, snoopers, and other people you don't want getting into your device.

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TOPICS: Android, Google
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While consumers might be able to make do with a simple PIN code to protect their Nexus 7 tablet, business users need to give a bit more thought to protecting their device.

Here's a rundown of what I did to protect my new Nexus 7.

Given the diversity of Android devices on the market, this information may or may not be applicable to other Android-powered devices.

All these options can be found under Security in the Settings app.

(Image: Screenshot by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet)

Screen lock

While using "Face Unlock" or a pattern to unlock the Nexus 7 might be convenient, neither offers the security of a PIN code or password.

Whichever you choose, consider six characters a minimum, and I would recommend bumping this up to eight or more if you carry sensitive information on your tablet.

See also: Getting a Nexus 7 ready to do serious work

Automatically lock

I set this to 5 seconds because this gives me a small window between the device going to sleep and it needing a password, bit not such a big one that it could be a vulnerability.

If you have sensitive information, then push this up to "Immediately".

Power button instantly locks

This is a no brainer. If I switch off the device, I want it locked immediately.

Encryption

Encrypting a tablet is quite a long process, but it's important if you want to make sure that the data on the device is safe from prying eyes. Encryption is the best way to make sure that all data you have on the tablet remains safe in the event of the tablet being lost or stolen.

Verify apps

You don't want any old junk installed on your BYOD or business tablet, so make sure that apps only come from reputable sources.

Other steps

Here are some other precautions that anyone using an Android tablet should take if it is being used in a business setting.

  • Install an antimalware app. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that Android — or, for that matter, any other platform — is invulnerable. Every little bit of protection helps.

  • If possible, pick an antimalware app that supports a "find your device" and remote wipe.

  • While it's not applicable to the Nexus 7, if you use external storage on your Android tablet — in the form on an SD card — then make sure that this is encrypted.

  • Don't root the device. While this is OK for consumers, it dramatically increases the attack surface, making it unwise in a business setting.

Topics: Android, Google

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5 comments
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  • Best solution

    Best solution for security minded people, simply don't buy it. Get a Window 8 tablet, it won't catch malware.
    Owlll1net
    • You mean Windows RT

      As Windows 8 tablets runs regular x86/64 version of Windows and is therefore sensitive to all regular Windows malware...

      But even for Windows RT, it's just a question of time and/or popularity before malware starts attacking it.
      lepoete73
  • Encrypting the device?

    How does it goes for USB copy to a PC after encrypting? Hopefully only an unlocked device (passcode typed in) can copy, otherwise encryption is useless.
    lepoete73
    • If I am not mistaken...

      If I am not mistaken, only iOS encrypts the app and then hands the data out freely when connected to a computer with iTunes installed.
      slickjim
      • If you know the user name and password

        Plus the lock code for the device.

        I would personally give anything to be able to copy my maxx's apps to the PC... Or back them up easily at all... It's the only thing keeping my business tablet an ipad.
        MarknWill