iPad 2 Smart Cover Exploit Breaks Through Passcodes

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Need to break into a passcode-protected iPad 2? All you need is a Smart Cover.

The security exploit, reported by 9to5Mac, allows limited access to the iPad 2 running iOS 5, but could expose e-mails and iMessages, and allows the intruder to delete apps. Here’s how it works:

1. From the lock screen, hold the power button until the “slide to power off” screen appears.

2. Attach a Smart Cover to the iPad 2 and place it over the screen.

3. Lift the smart cover and press “cancel” on the power off screen.

The iPad will then return to the home screen, or to whatever app was open before the device was locked. An intruder won’t be able to open any new apps, but as several 9to5Mac commenters point out, apps can be deleted. Also, the intruder could use the iPad 2’s spotlight search function to glean info from e-mails or iMessages.

Big deal? Not really, because the exploit only allows limited functionality on the iPad 2. And if you’re really worried about it, you can go into the iPad’s General settings menu and disable Smart Cover unlocking. You’d essentially be making the Smart Cover dumb, but it’s a small price to pay if you’ve got some sensitive data stored in your e-mail or messages—at least until Apple releases the inevitable patch.

MORE: Two Minute Video: Should You Buy the iPad 2?