iPad 2 Smart Cover ‘flaw’ discovered in iOS 5

Don Reisinger

by Don Reisinger October 21, 2011 8:01 AM PDT
Apple's iPad Smart Cover.

Apple’s iPad Smart Cover.

(Credit: Apple)

iPad 2 owners who use the Smart Cover and Smart Cover unlocking in iOS 5 are exposed to a bug that can potentially leave sensitive information open to others, Apple blog 9to5Mac is reporting.

According to the blog, if users have Smart Cover unlocking enabled in iOS 5 and use a Smart Cover to protect the iPad 2, the last screen they left open before locking the tablet can be accessed with some trickery.

In order to recreate the flaw, 9to5Mac says users must have the iPad 2 password-protected. After the device is locked, those who want to gain access to data need to hold the power button down so the software reveals the slider allowing them to power the tablet down. On that screen, users must close the Smart Cover over the iPad 2, open it back up, and click the “cancel” key. Upon doing so, they’ll be brought to the last screen that was open on the tablet.

If a person locks their iPad 2 on the home screen, those who access the tablet won’t be able to click any applications, 9to5Mac said. However, if an application is left open, users will be able to interact with it, even though the device is technically locked.

Although there are several steps required to recreate the flaw, it can be troublesome. As 9to5Mac points out, if users leave open their e-mail platform on the tablet, that data can be accessed.

9to5Mac’s discovery is the second potential security flaw to arise this month. Earlier this week, CNET reported that Apple’s voice-activated personal virtual assistant, Siri, has a flaw that lets folks make phone calls and send e-mails or text messages from the password-protected iPhone 4S‘ lock screen.

However, Macworld reported last week that in order to fix that flaw, users need only to turn off Siri support in the operating system’s Passcode Lock settings.

The flaw 9to5Mac came across is similarly easy to fix. According to the blog, users need only to disable Smart Cover unlocking in the operating system’s settings pane to ensure others can’t exploit the bug.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment on 9to5Mac’s findings.


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