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Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry go to WAR... in the Pentagon

DoD poised to add Jobsian and S Korean kit alongside its BlackBerry stash

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The US Department of Defense will be the next battleground for mobile platforms, with the Pentagon about to approve Apple and Samsung devices for deployment alongside BlackBerrys.

Android devices using Samsung KNOX security will complete security testing within the next two weeks, along with BlackBerry 10 and iOS 6, allowing DoD to order secured devices running any of these platforms and use them to access Pentagon systems.

Reuters has been chatting to the Pentagon rep and tells us that the organisation currently has 470,000 BlackBerry handsets alongside 41,000 running iOS and 8,700 sporting Android. The latter platforms are in "testing" or "trials", but we'd wager a significant number were just demanded by brass of sufficient rank to avoid rejection.

Samsung KNOX is the Koreans' solution to the lack of inherent security in Android. It's a hardware/software combination, but while the hardware is shipping in the Galaxy S4 and Note 10.1, the public outing of the software has been delayed until July. Devices lacking KNOX could well prove insufficiently secure for the Pentagon' e-security bods.

The UK's Communications Electronics Security Group (CESG), the branch of GCHQ tasked with vetting such things, last year approved iOS 6 devices - but only for viewing content well below the "secret" classification. BlackBerry 10 is still under review.

Assuming the platforms being tested in the US pass the DoD's scrutiny, they'll be qualified for Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG). This makes them officially available to US squaddies but (perhaps more importantly) stamps them with US government approval as platforms to be trusted.

Expect to see joyous announcements from all concerned, in a week or two, as they celebrate the Pentagon's official blessing. ®

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