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How to Customize a Tablet for Better Security

Android tablets are built on an open platform, unlike the iPad with its proprietary iOS, providing the opportunity for customization. One way that customization is possible is by enhancing security and reliability features. In fact, the security on an Android tablet can surpass the security on an iPad and other similar devices.

For semi-custom and custom equipment, the Android tablet has become increasingly popular. It is commonly used for business, industrial, military, and medical applications.

Examples of Customizable Security Features

SECO can customize a tablet’s security and reliability features to meet difficult requirements, such as:

  • HIPPA regulations for use in medical applications
  • Credit card privacy for point-of-sale (POS) devices
  • Access control to prevent damage of infrastructure in industrial settings
  • Secrecy and redundancy for military applications
  • Ruggedness that keeps tablets in service and away from repair depots

The standard Android operating system has several known vulnerabilities. While some of these have been resolved, these updates don’t often get distributed to the end users by the tablet manufacturers. Often, tablets deployed for business, medical, industrial, and government use require feature lockdown, as well as the enforcement of security measures, as follows.

  • Encryption – When encrypted, data becomes unreadable. An encryption key is used to decrypt data, making it understandable. Without knowing the encryption key, and assuming the key is of sufficient complexity that it is impractical to guess it or figure out out via brute force trials, data are less vulnerable. 
  • Authentication – Authentication is an additional element designed to protect the Android tablet. By enabling two-factor authentication or biometric authentication, the tablet, as well as the data, becomes more secure.
  • Privacy and network connection – Customized security features provide more privacy and a safer network connection. Customization can enhance privacy by limiting the tablet’s ability to connect only to known “friendly” network connections.
  • Physical tamper detection – In mission-critical applications where access to Android tablet internals may compromise security, tamper detection methods can be implemented allowing for the data on the tablet, or its encryption keys, to be erased if physical attempts are detected.
  • Configuration Lock-Down – Consumer-grade tablets are designed for general purpose use. This allows the user to install and run numerous applications. In comparison, Android tablets used for business and government applications typically require just one or perhaps a few predetermined apps for operation. To avoid unintended use, these tablets are usually booted into “kiosk mode.” Using customized safety features, client information is better protected.
  • Remote updates – Like data, operating system and application code provided via remote updates must be decrypted and authenticated. Embedded applications usually do not utilize the  Google Play store, and manage updates via vendor-controlled processes. SECO offers the Clea platform, which includes secure remote update management functions, and runs on any SECO embedded platform.

Key Areas of Customization of SECO Rugged Tablets

SECO commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) tablets are designed from the ground up, completely in-house. This includes the circuitry, matching operating system software, and enclosure. These tablet platforms provide more typical tablet functionality, enhanced with specialized interfaces, a sunlight readable display, and rugged packaging. Utilizing a modified COTS design approach, SECO USA customizes the COTS tablet starting from a known and proven design that significantly reduces development time and cost. Customizations include:

  • Private labeling – This includes your company name and logo while providing the preferred enclosure look and feel.
  • Connectors – Customization with specific connectors allows the docking and secure connection of external devices on an as-needed basis.
  • Peripheral circuitry – Peripheral circuitry is integrated, including RS-232, Ethernet, NFC, fingerprint readers, radios, and other serial connections.
  • Batteries – The tablet’s batteries are optimized to application run-time and peripheral set.
  • Ruggedness – The Hydra-F6 was designed to meet IP-67 requirements. It has also been tested for drops and screen impact. A custom over mold or special materials can be used to increase the ruggedness if necessary.
  • Certification – Most off the shelf tablets are not certified for medical, military, or industrial use. A custom tablet can be tested and certified to the specific criteria demanded by the application and use case. This includes FCC, UL, CE, Industry Canada (IC), cellular/PTCRB, MIL-SPEC, and many more.

SECO USA can design a custom tablet and take it through regulatory certification testing. From there, a turnkey solution is manufactured. SECO also offers Clea for remote device management/updates, and artificial intelligence/machine learning algorithm development that extends functionality and intelligence. Ultimately, you end up with a completely controlled platform, optimized for your application, that lets you manage updates and security, and monitor all your devices in the field.


  • By: Carlos Valeiras
  • Published: Oct 5th 2016
  • Categorized: Blog
  • Tagged: tablets

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