Security firm warns against Samsung Galaxy Tab for enterprise use

Security specialist Context Information Security says vulnerabilities in the Samsung Galaxy Tab make it unsuitable for use in the enterprise

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is not suitable for enterprise use due to its serious security failings, according to security specialist Context Information Security.

Research conducted by Context Information Security examined the three most popular tablets to identify security strengths and weaknesses in their suitability for enterprise use. 

Context Information Security subjected the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Apple iPad 2 and the BlackBerry PlayBook to scrutiny, focusing on data protection, software, access control, connectivity and synchronisation.

“I find it hard to recommend the Galaxy Tab as an enterprise tablet,” said Jonathon Roach, principal consultant at Context.

Context claimed the file system was weak because data stored under the SD card is not encrypted. 

Email attachments are stored there automatically and Roach said many users store information under the SD card to save space on the device, opening the possibility data breaches.

Context said the lack of enterprise-level management tools on the Galaxy Tab would make it difficult to control a large fleet of the devices.

Context claimed the Apple iPad 2 and the BlackBerry PlayBook were much more ready for enterprise deployment.

Suitability for BYOD programmes

The BlackBerry PlayBook was found to be far more advanced in its level of security and ideal for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) schemes. Context pinpointed its Bridge application as a key factor for IT in the workplace. 

The Bridge application ensures that, when using the tablet for work, it must be in close proximity to a BlackBerry phone. As soon as this connection is lost, the user cannot access work data.  

Apple's iPad 2 also offered surprisingly good levels of security for a domestic consumer device, said Context. The company praised its robust data protection and damage limitation facilities. However, the iPad 2 couldn’t stand up to the PlayBook, as it suffered from weaknesses when jailbroken.

None of the devices were completely 100% secure and Context advised that keeping firmware up to date with over-the-air updates is a key way to increase security. 

Context listed the mitigating steps users can take to reduce any risks associated with each tablet:

  • iPad 2 - In corporate environments, disable connection to iTunes via device policy;
  • Galaxy Tab - Enable disk encryption on all available partitions;
  • PlayBook - Use BlackBerry Balance to manage the device if in a corporate setting.

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