After years of maintaining that BlackBerry was the only smartphone smart enough for the Department of Defense security blanket, the Pentagon has finally approved the Samsung Galaxy S IV, and sources tell The Wall Street Journal that Apple's iPhone is expected to follow some time later this month. The government has been ditching its BlackBerry-only policy for a while now, but winning over the Pentagon means these devices now have the sheen of security that was one of their main selling points.
Specifically all devices running the BlackBerry 10 Enterprise System and Android Knox now meet the DoD's Security Technology Implementation Guide. And iOS 6 should get the okay in coming weeks. As of right now that includes a small roster of phones: The two new BlackBerry's—the Z and Q10s—and the Samsung Galaxy S IV. BlackBerry has maintained a high enough level of security to appease the likes of the Pentagon for some time. But, what makes Knox and iOS 6 good enough now?
Personal and Work Data: Together, But Separate
Borrowing a feature from BlackBerry, Samsung now lets IT admins to keep work and personal information separate using what it calls "partitions." Workers no longer have to lug around two gadgets. Security Enhanced (SE) Android, as its called, creates a container that separates out business from personal use. When you turn on the phone, Knox will launch with certain apps such as email, contact, calendar, and file sharing. Each of those programs are isolated and encrypted at all times, which means it meets the high security standards for sending internal emails.
Administrators can't access any programs not in that bin, but have complete control over those ones in Knox. That also means when someone leaves the company they can remote wipe just the corporate secrets part.
Secure Boot Keep Viruses Out
With all the hacking going on all over the place, Secure Boot prevents any non-verified apps from running on the device. Which is especially important on Android phones, which aren't known for their security. This will prevent any malicious programs from compromising a business's security.
Super Enhanced Tracking and Recovery
If a device is lost or stolen, the software not only track it, but it can recover all the lost information. Even if a thief resets the device, using the security system Absolute, the administrator can pull a new copy of the lost information out of firmware. .
A Special Locked Down Version of iOS
If and when the Pentagon approves Apple phones, it would block access to the App store, iMessage and Safari because they post a security risk, reports The Guardian's Charles Arthur. Employees will instead get a special Pentagon approved browser that will be routed through their servers.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.