Department of Defense to start accepting Android phones for top-secret classified information


That’s one small step for Android, and one giant leap for Android-kind. It looks like the US Department of Defense is about to end its reliance on Blackberry as a secure platform as the government is making amends to its smartphone policy. The new policy will allow government officials to use top Android phones from the likes of Samsung to access information and communication channels up to classification levels of top-secret.

The Department of Defense says it’s crucial for its soldiers and officials to have access to modern devices in order to facilitate better collaboration in the cloud and things of that nature. In other words, it’s time to ditch the archaic, dated phones of yesteryear and get with the times. The significance of this development is huge, as most folks believe the biggest thing keeping Android from completely burying Blackberry is a lack of sufficient security.

The new policy isn’t totally BYOD — or “bring your own device” — unfortunately, but you might be able to understand why. The devices DoD is ordering, about 600,000 of them, have been scrutinized very carefully to ensure they’re secure enough for this task. Bringing your $100 PAYG phone won’t be ideal because there’s no way for the DoD to ensure all the different unique devices swirling about meet the same standard of security.

Android has already broken several barriers in the enterprise sector as OEMs have built devices to be secure and flexible enough for businesses to do their bidding on almost any wireless device you can imagine. Samsung has been one of the biggest players in paving the way for Android’s dominance in enterprise with its SAFE-certified program. HTC, LG, Sony, Motorola and more are all doing fantastic jobs of their own.

Enterprise and government are the last two markets where Blackberry, formerly RIM, still has a strong grip, and if it continues to lose the hearts of those folks it’s tough to see it climbing back into the smartphone race anytime soon. The tides are turning all over, folks, and it’ll be a fun ride to see what it leaves behind as the water spills back into the proverbial sea.

[via iSource]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Androids got this!

    1. Phatman! Didn’t know you were here on Phandroid too!

  2. What???? do you know how easy it is to break into a andriod phone???

    1. As easy as you make it.

      1. Explain…..?

        1. What I’m trying to say is that, apart from all of the “daily user” security features, the DoD has the ability to modify Android and/or use devices that have been secured. Technically any device can be broken into if tried hard enough. But there are ways to make it very difficult.

          1. they already have an in-house hardened version of android and can disable specific features via software as well as through hardware. Yes, they physically disable things like webcams and bluetooth on PCs, Macs and laptops.

          2. Ok, there we go! It’s just like educational devices in schools, where some schools disable certain features on devices to prevent any kind of communication that can’t be foreseen.

          3. ohhh thank you! :)

    2. I’m pretty sure DoD is not going to go pick up some phones at your local best buy. They will be using handsets that have passed FIPS compliance. Thats a whole different animal.

      I believe samsung has reached FIPS compliance but apple has not.

      1. Apple won’t release source code to the government

        1. And yet Phandroid “conveniently” leaves out the part about the DOD bringing in iPhones too into the mix. Spin city.

        2. What does that have to do with anything?

      2. iOS CoreCrypto has similar FIPS compliance, let’s be fair here

    3. DoD spec encryption used for top secret data is nearly impossible to crack…..

    4. And yet, unless there’s some miracle/leak, devs working hard for months to unlock encrypted and locked bootloaders have little to no success -_-

  3. If they really wanted, they could even make their own android phones.

    1. why reinvent the wheel? Isn’t that done enough?

      1. Because the Chinese manufactured it and they know where its weak spots are.

      2. If you are paranoid enough you’ll do anything

  4. I already know they will NOT be using any Chinese OEM phones. As it stands it takes months to bless foreign made software from “friendly” countries. Countries outside of a select few, you will never see software or hardware introduced into any govt facility other than R&D tinkering.

    1. China is hardly a friendly nation to the US

  5. Photo Caption should be “Air Force NCO’s on Blackberry”, not “Army Officers…” #jussayin

    1. Lol, true true. but it seems most civilians don’t know the difference. and the enlisted do all the necessary work with the phone before getting it to both officer and enlisted personnel.

      1. So civilian ignorance is a viable excuse for inaccurate news reporting?

        1. chill out cowboy, it’s just a part of the file name not the photo caption. He probably didn’t change the file name when he took the image from another source

          1. Sorry Dave. I really didn’t mean to come across quite so blunt, that’s just who I am.

            I am not necessarily concerned with the file name. Hell, I didn’t even notice it. My comments were more directed at the mere thought of the acceptance of inaccurate journalism due to the ignorance of potential readers. If we use that excuse all the time, then we are basically giving all journalists a free pass to write whatever they choose about virtually anything.

            Come to think about it….. We already have.

    2. ummm where do u see Army officers anywhere in thise article??? it says DoD…jussayin

      1. Right click on the pic of the tech sergeant and staff sergeant and look at the image name.

  6. Strange. I saw the front page headline of the Air Force Times and it said the DoD was getting ipads and iphones to test. No mention of android. Now I wish I grabbed the paper to see if the DoD is testing both icrap and android.

    1. Ok, never mind. read the article they were quoting. phandroid has selective reporting. the DoD is testing both icrap and android.

      Apple will probably end up winning out though. seems like most officers I encounter love their icrap. they always have the latest devices nearly as soon as they release. very rarely will I see an officer with an android

      1. Maybe they like it because it provides a great User Experience.

        1. Well the officers I know like it because it’s easy to use and there are no surprises.

      2. i see lots of officers with android. my company commander has a Moto Droid RAZR Maxx and my brigade commander and CSM both have SGSIII

        1. It could be the different environments we work in. I am an aircraft maintainer, so on top of the officers I come in contact with in my squadron, I see a whole lot of flight crew. Most have iphones and ipads. I haven’t viewed this myself, but maintainers that fly with the crew tell me that their android is often looked down on and the butt of jokes from fight crew.

    2. Apple won’t be used for top secret data processing, all unclassified

  7. Another nail in Blackberry’s coffin.

  8. There goes all of their top secret data………

  9. Android core is secure, the userland and more specifically the liberal permission system is where I’m dubious. Blackberry had the option to revoke app permissions; Android desperately needs this. Even iOS has per-app GPS settings, requests to view photos, calendars, etc. Android has to step up here, but seeing as it’s Google and they are in the business of collecting data, I doubt that will happen :-(

    1. u have no idea what u r talking about


  11. Android is Linux it is opensource.
    Linux is used for firewalls.
    With a custom Military adroid ROM it would be most secure platform. All this talk about google and ios enduser products is irrelevant. The IT business really went south when they started letting end users force iphones on businesses. The IT department should make the it purchasing decisions.

    1. Actually the dod(fbi mostly) frowns on government entities using open source firewalls. Been in an argument about this with a couple of my police departments because we use pfsense and another in house built bsd firewall.

  12. The governments “validation” of Android as a suitable, secure platform should not be taken as merit to android. The government does not have more intelligent people working in it than Google. All this proves is that the government also uses android. And I seriously doubt the government’s judgement can be trusted, as they have demonstrated time and again.

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