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DoD set to approve iOS 6 devices, Samsung Galaxy phones

updated 04:16 pm EDT, Wed May 1, 2013

Platforms getting separate approval

The US Department of Defense should grant two separate security approvals to iOS 6 devices and Samsung Galaxy phones in the coming weeks, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. Apple's iOS 6 is expected to be vetted as safe for non-classified data uses, namely email and web browsing. Galaxy phones, meanwhile, will allegedly be judged as conforming to the DoD's Security's Technology Implementation Guide, allowing use by some military agencies for sending and receiving internal email.

The separate approval processes are necessary because as a locked-down, proprietary platform, iOS is seen as more secure. Android by contrast is a more "open" OS modified by many different phone makers, which may make it riskier. Samsung Galaxy phones are, however, preloaded with the company's Knox security software.

Getting the new security clearance should pave the way for the DoD to adopt Galaxy and iOS devices at more agencies. Electronista recently reported that the DoD is planning to acquire some 650,000 iOS devices, including iPod touches -- but that it was waiting for security testing, as well as the end of the sequestration currently crippling government budgets. That could cause problems, because iOS 7 is predicted to arrive in September or October, at which point more testing may be needed.

BlackBerry has long been a mainstay of DoD agencies because of the tight security protocols the company uses. BlackBerry 10 devices are currently undergoing testing, though, because of the radical upgrades in their operating system. The company says it is working with the DoD to get approval as soon as possible.

by MacNN Staff



  1. reciprocity

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-08-08

    The story seems to contradict itself. iOS is "vetted as safe for non-classified data uses" only, but Android "is a more 'open' OS used by many different phone makers, which may make it riskier." How does this make any sense?

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    I've had it changed from "Android is a more 'open' OS used by several different manufacturers" to "... OS modified by several different manufacturers," which I think clarifies what the author (not me) was trying to say. IOW, because Google lets carriers and others reshape, change and even fork Android for their own purposes, that introduces a risk of weakened security -- an issue iOS doesn't have to deal with. Hope that clears it up, thanks for pointing that out.

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 04-05-11

    It might also be pertinent to mention that there is already a "high Security" version of Android, created by the US Military that gained approval late in 2011.

    The myriads of forks Linux has, can be both useful or detrimental to the end user; in this case the "military grade" version is quite paired down, like some Blackberry devices; but the artificial limits it has actually reinforce security in some environments.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    The 2011 version is presumably out of date, I would think; they are doing testing on current Android versions, however, as mentioned in the article.

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: 07-16-04

    The problem with "forks" is that they might not receive future security patches leaving them more vulnerable. One of the advantages of iOS is that every phone can receive the latest iOS update whereas Android phones might not receive the latest fixes depending on the Carrier and/or supplier.

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