28 July 2013

Sam-sung blue...

A somewhat disgruntling day.
The Samsung Note 10.1 tablet which has become one essential keystone of my persional ICT ecology (if I may mix metaphors) has never had any security on its startup screen. The whole point of it is instant access; switch on and swipe the screen, or just pull out the stylus, and hey presto I'm working. Content is all on the cloud, not the device, and anything confidential is password encrypted anyway. If I lose the tablet itself, or if it is stolen, I lose no data security.
This morning, in an idle moment, whilst adjusting another setting entirely, I suddenly decided to explore the startup security options which I have never used.
First I tried pattern locking. Select one of over 4500 ways to connect dots in a grid; give a four digit PIN as a back up access method; repeat same pattern to unlock. This worked well. Having tried it out, I switched it off again.
Next was signature recognition; I was asked to sign on the screen three times, so that the machine could store a generalised version. I switched off, then on again, and tried to get in by signing the lock screen. No dice: however many times I tried, it wouldn't recognise my scrawl. Ah, well, no matter ... after five failed attempts, I just entered the four digit pin and got in that way, then removed the signature lock.
Finally, what should be simplest and most secure option: password locking.
Since this was only an idle experiment, I entered a simple, impossible to forget sequence of letters ("abcdefgh"), wrote it down on a slip of paper to be sure, confirmed it when requested, exited settings, and switched off. Switched back on again, entered my sequence. And ... it was rejected.
After five abortive tries, I thought I would be offered the PIN option ... but no. I was made to wait thirty seconds before trying another five times with equal lack of success.
On my twenty seventh try the same sequence was, suddenly, accepted and I was in. Breathing a deep sigh of relief, I went straight to settings to remove the password locking option ... but, to do so, I had to first reënter the password which was again rejected repeatedly.
Finally (to cut a long, tedious and tearstained story short) I was forced to hard reset the tablet. That lost me all data ... nothing irreplaceable, but it meant spending the rest of today reinstalling applications, altering settings, and generally recreating a working environment evolved over the last year or so.
All's well that ends well ... but this is, nevertheless, my first black mark against Samsung and I shall never again play with a setting I don't need.

1 comment:

Geoff said...

"Leave well alone"
Let sleeping dogs lay"
"Don't poke the goose"
I wonder what that - a zip in the universe - is for?
I'll have to have a look.
Hoorah I've got lost again!