iPhones, iPads cleared for U.S. military use; DOD fortifies cloud

iPhones, iPads cleared for U.S. military use; DOD fortifies cloud

Summary: The Pentagon has cleared iPhones and iPads running iOS 6 for use in the U.S. military, just over a week after the U.S. government cleared the software for federal use.

(Image: Pentagon/Flickr)

After being certified by the U.S. government earlier this month for low-level security clearance work, iPhones and iPads running the latest software are now deemed suitable for U.S. military use.

The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed in a statement on Friday that Apple's iOS 6 mobile operating system is secure enough to connect to secure Pentagon networks. 

Earlier in May, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which examines and tests mobile devices and technologies for security clearance, granted the Apple software FIPS 140-2 certification (Level 1) last Friday. This approves iPhones and iPads running the software in conjunction with the U.S. government's lowest level of national security clearance.

The Defense Dept. previously said it has up until now depended on around 470,000 BlackBerry devices, which have held U.S. government certification for many years. The department also has 41,000 Apple products and 8,700 devices running the Android operating system, according to the press release.

But because these platforms have previously not been certified or cleared for use, such devices had not been connected to secure military networks, except for testing.

Samsung recently received the nod from the Pentagon for any Samsung device protected by the Knox security software, which includes the Galaxy S4 and other compatible tablets.

For the first time, Apple's push into federal use opens up the U.S. government and military to competition for device procurement in the mobile space. 

While BlackBerrys had once held the monopoly over U.S. federal agencies, on two fronts there is an increasing responsibility for device and platform makers to secure their hardware and software, but also the dwindling BlackBerry market share has forced the federal government to look elsewhere for long term stability and reliability.

But with the decline in BlackBerry popularity and a slower-than-expected release schedule for the latest BlackBerry 10 smartphones, many federal agencies have already made headway towards rival platforms and devices.

Fortifying cloud, acquisition, data processes

The Defense Dept. also said today it will take "bold steps" to provide information and proper analysis as it fortifies its cloud computing, acquisition and data processes.

The Defense Dept.'s deputy director for acquisition resource analysis and enterprise information Mark Krzysko said cloud computing is one of many new ways to provide "decision-makers timely access to accurate, authoritative and reliable information."

He noted that the major challenge faced by the Pentagon is twofold: how can the Department make existing technologies and cloud information work together, but also how to "orchestrate the transition" from a desktop environment to a mobile one, while ensuring data security and integrity?

In conjunction with today's news regarding iOS 6's clearance for the Pentagon, Krzysko cited existing iPad use in the Department. But it wasn't just about the shiny, latest products and features. 

He firmly noted that the Department's requirement is to fully understand the "processes, people and policy framework" around the technology, data and acquisition evolution.

Topics: Apple, Government US, iOS, iPhone, iPad, Security

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  • Booyah!

    Kudos Apple!
  • Good for apple

    Good for apple. Though, I was hoping with the release of BB10 they would reconsider there stance on the platform.
    • Competition is good

      There is always good to have more than one supplier of technology. Homogenous population is too weak sometimes... military know that better than anyone.
    • Huh?

      Did I miss something?
  • Thank you!

    Thank you US government! Alllowing a rootable device will make all your threats take head and laugh. Really, if you can root a device easily and repeatably it is not secure enough except to sync music. Please consider in the future to assess the tech and not your stock dividends. Nothing like countering your security by using a device that never claimed to be secure and claiming that it is. Containerization means nothing if you can root a device.
    'nuff said
    • I don't understand...

      Do you mean the Samsung's they currently use,
      Or the apples they've just approved? Rooting or jailbreaking?

      Are you suggesting they develop their own smartphone OS that is non crack-able? Given that even the likes of apple and sony haven't managed to stop jailbreaking, and they are actually trying to do so?

      It seems more sensible to use corporate apps that will not run on jailbroken devices like banks do?

      The security risk posed by smartphones is minute by comparison to laptops. Their only advantage would be ability to conceal?
      • Contrary to the DUMBDOID posts

        Samsung is NOT currently in use. The GS4 hardware (only one single model) was pre-approved but only if using a DOD developed custom ROM. Not with the stock Android version that ships from Samsung.

        Stop reading fanboy websites with posts from so-called bloggers without a single source to back up their claims.