Apple mobile devices okay for Defense Dept. work

Apple mobile devices okay for Defense Dept. work

Summary: The Defense Dept. recently approved iOS 6 devices as fit for DoD work and wants a multiplatform mobile management in place by early next year for Android, Apple and Blackberry solutions.


According to a recent Defense Information Systems Agency announcement, Apple iOS 6 is approved for use on DoD networks. The security technical implementation guide (STIG) means that iPhones and iPads will be approved for current mobility implementation pilots as well as the forthcoming omnibus Mobility Device Management framework, which is due next year.

The release of the Apple iOS 6 STIG is a major stride in building a multivendor environment, supporting a diverse selection of devices and operating systems, DISA officials said. This STIG and the recently approved STIGs for the BlackBerry and Samsung Knox operating systems demonstrate DISA's commitment to validate a range of devices that meet DOD security standards so the best technology is available to achieve mission requirements, they added.

Actual orders will be tied to identification of specific operational requirements and funding availability of using organizations, officials said.

In announcing the latest STIG approval, DISA officials said a key objective of the Commercial Mobile Device Implementation Plan is to establish a department-wide mobile enterprise solution that permits the use of the latest commercial technology -- such as smartphones and tablets -- and the development of an enterprise mobile device management capability and application store to support about 100,000 devices from multiple vendors by February.

The release said the Defense Department currently has more than 600,000 "commercial mobile devices in operational and pilot use," including some BlackBerrys (470,000), iOS devices (41,000) and Android devices (8,700).

The site Patently Apple said that all the device companies are working on adding fingerprint security to their devices for this contract. The next round of iOS will likely support fingerprint scanning technology.

It's been rumored since January that Apple's next iPhone would in fact debut with their patent-pending fingerprint technology and on April 22, Patently Apple broke the news that the fingerprint sensor may have been the culprit holding back a new iPhone. In hindsight, Apple could have been still working out specification details about the fingerprint scanner with the Pentagon.

Speculation aside, the news concerning Apple devices being "approved" for lower level non-classified communications security may not have covered the full story. In order for Apple to have been considered for the new Pentagon contract, Apple had to first be approved for clearance. At the end of the day, it's now clear that Apple is firmly in the race for the new Pentagon contract.

Great news for the platform.

Topics: Apple, Android, Government, iOS, Mobility, BlackBerry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • "iPhones most vulnerable among smartphones"

    bad for US security:
    "iPhones most vulnerable among smartphones"
    • More Specifically The iOS 6 CryptoCore Kernel Module 3.0 Was Approved

      DISA has NOT yet certified iOS. Only the CryptoCore Kernel Module was granted FIPS 140-2 certification.

      DISA is currently working with Apple on approval for iOS.

      That is not the last hurdle for iPhone. The hardware will need certification as well.

      Any device with an ARM processor is not likely to get very far in the Pentagon. The Pentagon frowns on any device with a microprocessor not fabbed by an American company on American soil. The Apple A5 may be an exception.

      Because the iPhone A5 processor is fabbed by Samsung in Austin TX. This may help. Although it is rumored that Apple is looking to have TSMC in Taiwan fab the A6. This would create bigger obstacles to DISA certification of iPhone hardware if true.

      Samsung Knox does not have the same obstacles because NSA was given the source code.

      If SE Linux is used as an example for what it takes it's not a pretty picture. SE Linux was developed by NSA. It is a very painful OS from a usability aspect. The user is constantly bombarded with a password dialog box. Passwords must meet DISA requirements or in other words not easy to remember passwords and must be changed at regular intervals.

      The use of iPhone and Android are in Pentagon pilot programs and are not approved or certified.

      Android being open source may have advantages for secure use. Although it is highly unlikely apple would not turn of their source to NSA. Microsoft always gives NSA their source code.

      Motorola may not be as autonomous from Android as Google would like others to believe.

      Case in point Google gave up their key VP of Operations to head Motorola Mobility. Motorola in the same press release to announce the closing of the Motorola deal also announced the appointment of Regina Dugan as Sr. VP of Advanced Technology & Projects. Dugan was hired away from DARPA the DoD's networking communications policy maker.

      Dugan was the Director of DARPA's and their liaison to Congressional Intelligence committees. Is it possible she has a hand in the development of a secure distro of Android?

      Motorola uses Intel in their flagship Droid smartphone. Intel's approval will sail through certification.

      How about same Conspiracy Theory?

      Why was RIM sued in New York around the same time Google bought a square block of Manhattan? the NY suits nearly put the nail in RIM's coffin.

      It's not that Blackberry was such a threat to Android as much as an impediment to getting Android and Google in the Pentagon. Just one more step in the direction of Google's World Domination.

      Was Google's disclosure of CIA Director Petraeus' Gmail message connected to Android approval? While Petraeus may or may not have been a direct obstacles, if not he could have been used as a message to Anyone that poses a threat to Google's World domination plan.
      • Correction: Intel is Used in Droid Razr

        Disqus needs to add an edit function here.
        • And how would they do that, as Discus has NOTHING to do with this site?!?

  • You might as well

    graffiti our government secrets on a brick wall. We're all screwed now...consumer software in gov and military is a disaster in the making. IOS lacks the necessary controls to manage the devices effectively.
  • You might as well just admit you don't know what you're talking about.

    First, iOS management tools are not the issue security-wise, and are a complete red herring. Second, you have evinced through your numerous postings that your knowledge of available iOS management facilities is scant, at best. There is a reason iOS meets the criteria for device usage. Those criteria were not modified to allow iOS.