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Apple iPad Security: Jury Out

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iPad may be the hottest thing in consumer technology, but corporate America could be the next frontier for much-hyped tablet device.

"Inclusion of the iPad into enterprise client workstations will be driven by the users," explained Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of security specialist Qualys, in an email to TheStreet. "It will be hard for IT administrators to resist [the demand from users]."

The big question, though, is whether this will mean a big security headache for businesses.
Apple iPad
Steve Jobs unveils the new Apple iPad

It took just 24 hours for reports of the first iPad hack to emerge, and attackers will inevitably seek out other security flaws.

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"Most of the attacks that we have seen against the iPhone have exploited vulnerabilities in the Safari browser, and we would anticipate that to be a point of weakness on the iPad, too," explained Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, also in an email. "Targeting browser vulnerabilities would be the obvious way to try and infect and steal information from users."

Cluley told TheStreet that it will be interesting to see how quickly Apple patches iPads when vulnerabilities are found. "In the past, it has been accused of being much slower to patch the iPhone OS, than say, Mac OS X."

Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently said that the company had sold more than 450,000 iPads since its launch earlier this month, and the turtle-necked tech guru has described the tablet as the "third category" of mobile devices.

Like other handheld devices, though, iPads could pose challenges for enterprise IT departments, according to Chris Hazelton, a research director at The 451 Group.

"The main issue for iPad is similar for any employee-owned wireless device," he wrote in an email. "It is that many companies don't realize or care that these devices are connecting to (and storing) corporate data."

Set against this backdrop, Hazelton urges firms to focus on tracking and controlling iPads.

"Companies need to know that an iPad is being used by employees, and if so, lock them down with passwords, and ensure that they can be remotely wiped if locked down or stolen," he added. "A lot of companies use Exchange, which can natively manage iPads, but it is not easy to detect an iPad using just Exchange - several third-party device management companies are stepping in to solve this issue."
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