back to article Putin and pals dump Apple's iPads for Samsung slabs... over security concerns

The Kremlin has ditched its iPads over fears that they would not withstand US snooping and replaced them with Samsung fondleslabs. Telecoms minister Nikolai Nikiforov said Sammy's gizmos were "specially protected devices that can be used to work with confidential information". "Some of the information at government meetings is …

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Hmm, it's not like Samsung or Google have ever spied on anyone's data? Then again I suppose it's probably easier for them to engineer their own Android O/S variant.

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Probably looking in the wrong direction, am I right in assuming Samsung slabs are made in China?

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Exactly

Most Samsung devices can be rooted and flashed. Russia could build a fork of Android without all the Google stuff in there if they so wished, or security harden it, or disable certain functionality like camera / microphone.

The biggest danger is some 3rd party builds still use binary driver blobs which could potentially contain exploits or backdoors. Supposedly some Samsung devices have suffered precisely that problem recently. They'd really want to build as much as possible from scratch.

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Anonymous Coward

Ivan's going to get PCs from Lenovo and switches from Huawei then?

Thought not.

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At least one US President

Have gone further. Jimmy Carter is now writing letters by hand to avoid US surveillance...

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Re: At least one US President

Quite sweet really that any body in the US military-industrial complex thinks Carter is a threat to the status quo.

Rather like finding that MI5 is spying on Tony Blair in case he is a a KGB agent

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Re: At least one US President

Great idea - given the quality of my handwriting I'd feel really sorry for any spook who tried to read it - six months on even I can't read what I wrote ;-)

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Re: At least one US President

"ix months on even I can't read what I wrote ;-)"

Ditto.

Interesting that your username is one of the names that 'Karla' is known by in TTSS

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Re: At least one US President

Upvote purely for the Le Carre reference.

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Re: At least one US President

Hmm.... Having read Robert Harris's excellent "crypto-documentary" Ghost about an ex PM (initials AB) maybe the spooks should be watching Cherie not St. Tony ( allegedly of course)..

BTW in post meltdown Russia I'm not sure the KGB could afford Tonys rates these days..

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Re: At least one US President

Damn, uncovered at last :-(

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Headmaster

@Chemist Re: At least one US President

"ix months on even I can't read what I wrote ;-)"

six is VI not IX

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So they have swapped Apple for Google, great decisive action... or not.

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Boffin

Android devices go as far a syncing wifi passwords with the cloud ... LOL

morons

PS: There are no secure tablets on the market.

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Re: There are no secure tablets on the market.

Yes, Lenovo did get my hopes up when they brought out an Android-based Thinkpad Business Tablet, but then followed it up with everything Windows...

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Facepalm

It really is sad......

Several people posting here without bothering to think at all.

Believe it or not but you can make your own version of Android that doesn't report to Google.

Some people even buy a Chinese tablet and then do their best to get it to talk to google store etc.

Amazon also I believe sale tablets that have a modified Android OS that doesn't report to Google......

How hard would it be for the Russian government to write a version for use on government systems only.....

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Re: It really is sad......

yes, they will create a ultra secure version with no way of getting info back to Google, then they will download Facebook and twitter from the Play store.

No Joke Icon, well, just because.

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Re: It really is sad......

And how pray tell do they download from the play store with no play services on the tablet ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It really is sad......

"How hard would it be for the Russian government to write a version for use on government systems only....."

Their best software engineering talent prefers to get rich in Silicon Valley, rather than take their chances in a Mafia kleptocracy,

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Mushroom

Re: It really is sad......

Of course your right, no-one would work for their government would they ?

the NSA and GCHQ are full of empty desks arn't they ?

Idiot.

Oh and there are plenty of crooks in Russia using computers as well.....

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Re: It really is sad......

@big_ted

why on earth would you want access to play store on a secure device ????

All apps would be pre-vetted/built and rolled out manually !!

they're designed for work not candycrush

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Re: It really is sad......

It was a reply to another post where Lost all faith... posted the below

Re: It really is sad......

yes, they will create a ultra secure version with no way of getting info back to Google, then they will download Facebook and twitter from the Play store.

No Joke Icon, well, just because.

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Re: It really is sad......

@Big_ted

My apologies for missing the sarcasm/joke aspect

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Re: It really is sad......

The worst of the worst is Facebook, it spies more than the NSA GCHQ CIA or any other agency does and reports back to Facebook all this information and they have the FBI stalking the corridors of the Facebook Campus. ;) Why do you think Zuckerberg is so interested in flying drones to 'connect the world to the internet'? at the same time it is taking pictures and pulling information, posts and messages and anything else.

Never trust Facebook if you want your private information kept private!

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Proprietary loose canon code is all accidental?

No flies on Apple.

Bad code is simply bad code. Yet its the open heavily perused stuff that gets talked down in the west.

Funny that.

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Re: Proprietary loose canon code is all accidental?

Could it possibly be because of all the malware available for Android?

Even if the Russian governments own coders build their own Androidski, given the large number of excellent Russian programmers working for botnet purveyors, who _doesn't_ expect Kremlin mobe traffic to appear on the (BitCoin?) market for sale to the highest bidder?

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Funny

I almost had milk shoot out my nose I laughed so hard after reading the article. No wonder the USSR fell apart...

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google play + other CA = remote root for other governments

As long as they continue to use google play and trust other CA authorities they're doomed because faking google play/push any app can be installed/removed/altered.

http://www.zdnet.com/google-catches-french-govt-spoofing-its-domain-certificates-7000024062/

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Putin' the Crime into Crimea

as above

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Compatible

Makes sense, Putin and Samsung both like to move into other's territory and take what they want. ;)

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Anonymous Coward

I guess nobody endorses Putin's actions as of late over here in the Western World [tm].

However, he's got a point. In all the NSA/MI5/GHCQ snooping conversations a couple of months ago, most of us were looking for non-American products to escape Big Bro. Apple is one of America's success stories. Getting there will include some lobbying/endorsement from the government etc.

We don't know for sure, because iPhones/iPads are more or less black boxes. Sure, not everything Android is open source, either, but it's more "accessible" than IOS.

Given the political and diplomatical situation Putin has got himself into, he cannot possibly have Apple in the Kremlin. Moving to Samsung makes a lot of sense. And I'm pretty sure that there are a lot of VERY good developers in Russia who can improve things (Androidski, as someone called it) for Russia's purpose. (Not all Russian developers are naughty boys who move on the dark side of [western] law)

Again, I'm in no way pro Putin. But this decision is sensible from his point of view. And unlike most western politicians, he at least has got balls. (I'm sure most western governments still use American products after complaining about them, e.g. Germany's Mrs Merkel and others)

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Anonymous Coward

curtain twitching west

would be nice to have one of these russian spec devices. I could feel all secure in the free west . how has it come to this.

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Anonymous Coward

Seems that the World leader in Apple FUD speaks out

Methinks the tech editor at the graunIad has been inspired by this.

No mention of IOS being abandoned over there, though maybe because with the Ipropaganda so heavy and dated, no comments are allowed on that latest iAd

I'm not linking but the title is "Which phones do world leaders use"

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