The usefulness of an iPad can’t be denied, it is great for a lot of tasks and use cases, with some people even owning a few. But it is natural to worry about what the security is like on the devices. So, can iPads be hacked and what are the signs that it is hacked?
iPad can be hacked but this is not likely. If the iPad is seemingly being controlled or opening pages it shouldn’t be, these are the major signs it has been compromised. You can change some settings and use software to help reverse this.
Let’s look at the best ways to keep your iPad safe and fix it should issues come up. We’ll consider some common attack vectors and the most appropriate ways to help ameliorate these.
Can iPad Be Easily Hacked?
Modern devices such as Apple iPads are susceptible to getting hacked or exploited due to the ever escalating arms race between compromisers and computer security experts.
It is important to be clear with terminology though. The term ‘hacked’ is an often misunderstood and, frankly, emotive term.
Getting hacked encompasses a wide variety of actions, so let’s go through them all and consider what they mean.
The system architecture of iPadOS means that it is very resilient to traditional methods of software exploitation. For example, the common malware infection you can get by using bad software or via a vector such as an infected USB.
But that tends to be an issue with specific file types and Windows operating systems. However, iPadOS has vulnerabilities and exploits to which you remain vulnerable, they are just different.
Apple spends considerable resources on and constantly puts out regular security updates, so it is not the case that Apple devices are immune from this.
However, some other attack vectors can result in your iPad getting accessed, such as browser and network-based attacks. But these are not particularly easy and if you practice safe browsing habits as discussed below, it is almost a non-issue.
Keep in mind that doing the process known as jailbreaking will open up the iPad to more hackers.
What a lot of people think is ‘hacking’ is actually just social engineering. This means people impersonate others, use conversational tricks, or just guess passwords and usernames to gain access to your account, from which they can start messing around with things.
Systems have become a lot more robust to stop this, but of course, the issue is that if you make security too good, when you have someone who does just legitimately forget their password, they can’t get back into their account or prove ownership.
So there still has to be a way to recover accounts, and this is often the way people get into accounts that they shouldn’t be able to, you can research about phone scams that abuse the ‘one time password’ scheme to get access to Amazon or bank accounts to get an idea.
Signs Your iPad Is Hacked
Some signs your iPad is hacked is if your iPad has been reset to defaults and all your accounts are signed out.
Similar signs could be if your Face ID or passcode has been changed, especially if you know no one else has access to the iCloud account or the device.
However, if your device is reset or factory reset, then this could just be the signs of a faulty device that has had its internals come into some physical error.
If you notice your device being remotely controlled, this is also surefire signs that someone has accessed your device.
How to Remove a Hacker From iPad?
Due to how an iPad is designed at the operating system level, it is a closed system that doesn’t work particularly well with virus scanners and malware detectors.
It is worth opening up your Safari web browser and clearing the cache. You can access this from Safari’s settings. It could be that some advertising on the page is hijacking the browser and sending it off to some site.
Often an exploiter will need to install a remote app on your iPad, so go through all your installed apps for anything suspicious.
Try disabling the WiFi or cell signal as that will kick a hacker off, so if you notice the suspicious activity immediately stops upon doing this, it may be worth doing a complete factory reset and also changing your iCloud password.
Can iPad Be Hacked Through Safari?
Safari as the default web browser on iPad is always going to be a target for exploiters, as everyone is going to have it, meaning if you’re a nefarious party trying to illegally access other people’s devices, it’s one of the most obvious choices.
Cookies, software and other vectors are never going to be fully fixed on any software, so it is really just a matter of time until another one is discovered. It’s not something that should be a worry on your mind, as the chances of you being the victim of this are very low.
In fact, Apple’s systems are so notoriously hard to get into, that even the alleged top security agencies around the world claim that they can get into any system except Apple’s, hence pressuring Apple to install an access point for them, which Apple refused.
How to Be Safe From Hackers?
Browser attacks are best defended against by getting good content and ad-blocking product. You can find a few in the Apple App Store meant for iPad, so go for one that is well reviewed and has a lot of downloads.
You can set up a security-focused recursive DNS service rather than the automatic DNS settings for your internet. DNS-based attacks are becoming more common, but can be prevented by changing some settings.
These DNS settings can either be set up in your home internet router, or the iPad itself. Google has DNS you can use, or Amazon’s Cloudflare is an option among others.
Open Settings on your device and tap on WiFi. Tap on the ‘i’ icon located next to your WiFi Network Name then scroll down and tap on the Configure DNS option.
Select the Manual option and tap on Add Server then for the first use 18.104.22.168 tap on Save, then add another of 22.214.171.124 and hit Save again.
You can do the same with other DNS choices, such as Open DNS Server using 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52, Amazon Cloudflare DNS Server per 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11, and CleanBrowsing 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124.
General security tips include staying off websites that are big targets for bad software. This includes pirate sites offering free movies or music, and never downloading anything outside the official Apple App store.
Any pornographic websites will also commonly use web browser-based attacks, so stay off these not only because it won’t cause issues with your brain, but also keep your iPad working well.
Exploiters will also use the promise of free versions of apps that may only have a paid option, a common one is screen-sharing software. If the app generally only has paid versions, you have to ask yourself how someone else can offer it for free.
Instead, you may find yourself doing the explorer’s work for them by installing the app on your own device which will then be a backdoor straight to your device.
This is why you should also uninstall apps from the most recent ones you installed to narrow down the suspicious one. You can look at your installed apps via the App Store or via all the App Store receipts emailed to you to determine which is the most recent.