Russian Officials Dump iPad Over Spying Fears

Not so long ago, Russian government officials had been using iPads in their work. But that’s history now: They have ditched the Apple tablets for Samsung devices to “ensure tighter security,” the telecoms minister told the AFP on Wednesday.

IPad air

The move, however, doesn’t seem to have any connection with the Western sanctions imposed over Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, at least according to telecoms minister Nikolai Nikiforov.

He said the Samsung devices are “specially protected devices that can be used to work with confidential information.”

“Some of the information at government meetings is confidential in nature and these devices fully meet these demands and have gone through the strictest system of certification.”

However, he did let it slip that the Russian government will pay more attention in choosing the right IT partner, meaning they will be picky from now on, because the American special services “will significantly increase the volume of information they intercept.” This obviously causes “serious concern to many governmental clients.”

From this perspective, South Korean and Chinese firms will have an advantage over US companies, so it seems.

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  • Farids

    Huh? Better security in Android than iOS? I’m going to check and see if the sun is rising from west instead of east tomorrow? That’s an interesting piece of news. Or has samsung begun to pay some politicians to switch to Android and its security as new means of advertising? Hell must be freezing just about now!!! And heaven accepting half frozen demon refugees!!!

  • Android tablets make better coasters for vodka

  • Farids

    I just don’t understand how anything open source can be trusted with security, most of all an OS. And I don’t see how an adviser didn’t point it out to these guys. It must be the payout…. Err, excuse me… the vodka!

  • MarkL

    Actually, you should ONLY be trusting open source projects with security since you can do the code audit. You can’t on a closed source system. So, the move is perfectly sound, provided that they review the codebase.

  • Farids

    Your point is very valid Mark. However, 95% of the population, who are not world class programmers, have to depend on programming experts to protect them against, sometimes, extremely talented hackers. The more open an architecture, the easier it is to write malware(and more powerful malware) and means to obtain or damage other people’s data (as a programmer knows the ins and outs of that open source OS). Looking at it in reverse, in a close OS, the hacker has less to work with to crack a locked puzzle. So, as a user, I prefer to trust the world class designers of a closed OS to protect me and my data(with a few added layers of security, of course) against the already handicapped hackers(no matter how good they are), than trusting antivirus companies vs. hackers(enemies), who know the ins and outs of a fully exposed open source OS. And as an expert, I’d write malware for an open source OS any day vs. a closed OS. There’s a reason there are so many effective viruses and hacks in Android vs. other OS. The main reason is, being easier to write in open source code. The number of active devices in the market is a far second or third (in Blackberry and Windows Mobile). It’s simply easier to hack and harder to prevent infections that gets hackers to write malware for Android. I own an iPhone. And as a consultant, I sometimes write code as a hobby. But if I were a politician or a consultant to a politician, who dealwith government confidential, secret or top secret material, my list of options, or recommends, would be in the following order: Blackberry, iOS, Windows Mobile and Android by a huge handicap after all. There are other OS options, but lack of apps and support makes them irrelevant.

  • MarkL

    This article is not about 95% population but a group of Russian politicians who are adopting technology based on FAPSI’s (check Wikipedia) advice. The custom Android build will be audited and locked down. No one knows what backdoors NSA managed to squeeze into Blackberry, iOS and Windows. Blackberry is the most reluctant to open their system (hence are the government threats across the world to ban the company if it does provide access to their encrypted network). So, this is not about apps and the Prime Minister accessing Google Store. This is about using audited and locked custom built of the open source OS designed to minimize the threat of possible espionage. No other OS with such wide hardware support as Android can fit the bill.