Russian government drops iPad in favor of Samsung tablets over spying fears


Russian government officials have stopped using iPads in an official capacity, instead opting to use offerings from Samsung according to a new report by Business Insider. The new Samsung devices are custom, secured tablets designed to be used with the confidential information government officials often need to handle.

Russian officials have denied that the swap is an effort to stop supporting American companies following sanctions related to the Ukrainian crisis. It also doesn’t seem to relate to recent rumors that the US government had backdoor access to Apple’s iOS devices—a claim Apple has denied.

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This is a far cry from Russia’s former relationship with Apple. In 2010, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the company’s Cupertino headquarters and was given an iPhone by then-CEO Steve Jobs—though it turned out the device was locked to AT&T’s network, which prevented it from working in Russia. Awkward.

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  1. Fahad (@Fahadtharani) - 9 years ago

    Okay, that is the last straw Russia. Nuclear war in 3,2,1…

  2. And what.. Samsung is not going to spy?

    • David Pace (@dpacemaker) - 9 years ago

      Considering that Google reads every email gmail users get to better advertise, I’m sure the Android OS is full of openings that can and will be taken advantage of by “spies”.

  3. Rob K (@robkurzd) - 9 years ago

    – Where does it say it was spying fears?

    – In all reality, iPads and iOS devices in general are difficult to roll out in an MDM environment. Android can at least be customized. Look at the State of California that purchased iPads for students that were able to circumvent the ‘security’ that was in place.

    – RIP BlackBerry

  4. /sarcasm follows/
    Yes, I’m sure it had nothing to do with the recent spat over Crimea and I’m totally confident that Samsung would not have a backdoor where Apple would.
    /end sarcasm/

  5. zeagus - 9 years ago

    Right they’re much better off with devices where the baseband has a backdoor to the filesystem with full rw access and the camera app until recently was run su’d to root.

  6. Gaurav (@HorizonZwinger) - 9 years ago

    Don’t samsung tablets run US based OS?

    • tool022611 - 9 years ago

      They use Android but add their own interface on top of it. android is google but they don’t have to pay Google to use it.

      • Gaurav (@HorizonZwinger) - 9 years ago

        Even if they are using a skin on top of that, whats to stop NSA from asking google about flaws in the software version concerned? Of course this is likely never to happen, but the entire fears were that NSA and the CIA could seek access to the software which was iOS in this case. Even with Samsung, the NSA/CIA can do so in the same manner as they would have done it with iOS i.e. ask the software maker for vulnerabilities and exploits.

  7. David Pace (@dpacemaker) - 9 years ago

    Considering that Google reads every email gmail users get to better advertise, I’m sure the Android OS is worse when it comes to hacking or spies being able to infiltrate it. iOS is the most secure mobile OS, I wonder if there is a back room deal we don’t know about?

    • tool022611 - 9 years ago

      Actually, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo all reserve the right to read any email that goes through their services, not just google. But yes, android is not as secure as ios, even one of the android developers said this. I would bet that it does have something to do with not supporting American companies.

      • David Pace (@dpacemaker) - 9 years ago

        Your right, but only Google uses your info to sell to advertisers. At least they are the only ones that admit to doing so. Microsoft has said that they only scan emails for malware, that they never actually read anything. Whether thats true, I don’t know, but that was their statement. I don’t know the policies of Apple or Yahoo, but I’m sure they are not much different. I was just pointing out that they don’t hide the fact that they read your emails. This to me is enough to stay away from Android. If they are reading my mail are they following everything Android users are doing? From GPS to what news sites you go to?

  8. kpom1 - 9 years ago

    Samsung = Endorsed by Vladimir Putin. The next big thing is here!

  9. It’s simple. All devices that are used in Russia’s government are required to have special sertification. Currently only Android and Windows are certified. More, agency, that certifies it has own Windows Update server, that contains only updates that were checked. Same way US government can’t so easily switch from Blackberry.

    • ziongpham - 9 years ago

      Oh, then why did they use Apple devices from the start?

      • They were not using them for work, mostly to play Angry Birds. And massive move from Apple devices started after exploit that was recently discovered. After Snowden leaked presentations where NSA stated that they were able to get data from iOS devices starting October 2012, right when iOS 6 came out. And surprisingly, iOS 5.1 doesn’t have that “bug”.
        I work in state enterprise and we had many iMacs that were running Windows in VirtualBox environment, Right after that bug was discovered and matched to NSA slides, we were told to run Windows natively, without booting to OS X.

      • Also, Samsung tablets were the first mobile devices to get certification that allowed use of encryption when working with documents. Also Android allows use of many advanced security features and third-party software, like VipNet Client, that is used to create secure networks in government organisations.

      • Because of iOS limitations it is impossible to create multiple profiles, which can limit which apps can use internal resources, which can use internet. Same Vipnet Client in my company has 3 modes – first it’s internet, second is government internet services, when only white listed web-sites are accessible, and only private local disks, third – only local network, when all programs work, network disks are allowed and printing works. Same situation here.

    • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

      Yeah, see, no, sorry. You’re completely and utterly wrong, as the mere TITLE of the article shows.

  10. Brett Huhn - 9 years ago

    I really hope they keep using Android devices. It only shows that their government has the same low IQ as the U.S. government.

  11. Your title and body seem to contradict one another- which is it?

    Russian government drops iPad in favor of Samsung tablets over spying fears
    It also doesn’t seem to relate to recent rumors that the US government had backdoor access to Apple’s iOS devices—a claim Apple has denied.

  12. themis333 - 9 years ago

    This makes no sense.

  13. ground (@groundmedia) - 9 years ago

    right because we all know samsung and android as a whole is more secure

  14. chasinvictoria - 9 years ago


    • aeronperyton - 9 years ago

      That’s also the mantra of the Russian space program.

      • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

        I thought it was the Kerbal Space Program’s.

        Soyuz, for example, has far and away the best safety rating of any rocket ever made.

  15. How could Steve give a locked phone? Is it really true, because with Steve’s attention to detail, it would be surprising if he didn’t know that a locked phone wouldn’t work in Russia.

  16. Chronic Electronics - 9 years ago

    Could it be true, our ipads spying on us???? Not that far fetched.. or is it?

  17. Oflife (@oflife) - 9 years ago

    I want my VladPad!

  18. Joel Medina - 9 years ago

    Example of really stupid decisions, whats more vulnerable to hacking and spying? ANDROID not IOS. LOL! Explains why Russian tech is so crappy.

  19. rtoolstechnology - 9 years ago

    really russia?

  20. rtoolstechnology - 9 years ago

    Reblogged this on R-Tools Technology inc..

  21. rlowhit - 9 years ago

    Russia is not doing themselves a favor.

  22. rettun1 - 9 years ago

    I’ll bet that Samsung reached out to Russia, like they did with lebron. And Ellen. And o my god why are there so many galaxy ads everywhere

  23. It makes sense….Have you seen the cars they prefer to drive. Perfect fit…

  24. Gregory Wright - 9 years ago

    “though it turned out the device was locked to AT&T’s network, which prevented it from working in Russia. Awkward.”

    No, the KGB fixed that problem.

  25. John Smith - 9 years ago

    Big advantage of Samsung tablets is in the opportunity to add additional security, starting with ‘Knox’ Obviously the closed down operating system of IOS will not allow that. It’s not an ‘off the shelf’ Samsung that offers security advantages.

    Thinking as an ordinary person – not a secret squirrel or international terrorist – I’m fairly comfortable that an out of the box iPad is certainly no less secure than an out of the box Samsung galaxy tab.

    (So long as it’s updated to eliminate the ‘gotofail’ fiasco !)

  26. Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

    >>This is a far cry from Russia’s former relationship with Apple.

    You do realize that this has nothing to do with their relationship, right? It’s political posturing over Ukraine. There’s a reason Russia chose Apple products in the first place, and it has nothing to do with the big bad America.

  27. Another PR stunt from Samesung, pretty soon we will start seeing social media posts from within the Russian Government with ‘posted from my iPad’ at the bottom.