DARPA wants secure Droids, iPads, iPhones
Pentagon boffins can bear BlackBerry shame no longer
Sometimes it's tough being an elite high-risk Pentagon boffin. Much though the life might seem like a dream to many of us – perks of the job could include such things as hover-jeep flying cars, self-assembling floating fortresses, Matrix style cyberwar firing ranges populated by replicant sim-people etc etc – there are downsides.
Specifically, your work phone will generally be a boring one: no lovely iPhone or Droid for you. Instead that badge of infamy, that infallible mark of boring corporate suitdom – the BlackBerry – will probably be your lot, unless perhaps it is a still more embarrassing old-school Windows Mobile gadget.
This is because you will need to handle classified government information on your issue smartphone, and government security types generally assess that only the BlackBerry shows up on their security scale at all.
Even BlackBerries aren't generally rated as being safe to hold high-grade gov info (the UK spooks say nothing more than Restricted can be allowed, for instance: Confidential and above requires special hardware solutions). However the RIM phone – and sometimes the old Windows Phones – are allowed to have lesser secrets on them, as they offer robust encryption of email and full disc encryption on the device. At the moment this isn't really the case for iOS or Droid.
But no more. The hip, funky war-boffins of DARPA – who need to recruit the grooviest and most with-it techies to carry out their mission of way-out, high risk military research – have evidently decided that they can no longer bear the shame of having a BlackBerry in their labcoat pockets. They have put out a request for technologies which could deliver "full disk and system encryption of [smartphones and tablets] (specifically Apple and Android platforms) to include a pre-boot environment to load the operating system ... that can be deployed in less than 90 days".
Such software-based solutions would probably boost fondleslabs, Jesus Phones and Droids only up to Restricted level, but that would suffice for most DARPA business – specifically the machines would then be cleared to hold "proprietary data", which is classified mainly because of its commercial (rather than national-security) importance.
Those interested in helping DARPA out with its Droid and iOS security issues should read all about it here. ®
umm GOOD technology is already an encrypted container with FIPS-2
Why reinvent the wheel?
Email, calendars, contacts, documents, Sharepoint, all within a nice shiny secure application. They've taken their time over the user experience, too - it's as nice to use as Apple's own apps, but more businessy. Great on iPad and iPhone alike, with features to make the most of both. Good all round, really.
The back-end server software is also sleek and easy to configure. No problem dealing with PCI-DSS level site security.
BUT - sadly, it's aimed at enterprise only. Entry level license is around £9000 (pa?), and they expect you to have thousands of users, not tens. I dearly wish that Good would introduce a SME level license, as until then our staff will have to make do with their Blackberries (which are unrelentingly hated, especially the Storms, which we paid too much for to replace!)
Re: They are DARPA!
I'm sorry, was the Internet not good enough for you? Since when did you invent a world changing technology?