Android is now close to approaching Politics! Well not exactly but recent reports state that Pentagon has given its approval to Android in an effort to oversee the US military to use Google’s mobile OS along with the usage of an equally encrypted Blackberry. Previously Blackberry had always been the best choice for all government departments owing to security concerns on other platforms but those days are gone indicating the fall of Blackberry.
However the approval seems to be quiet precise. The new version of Security Technical Implementation Guide released by Pentagon gives a green signal to the restricted use of Android in order to access computer networks operated by the Department of Defense (DOD). Google’s Mobile software can only be implemented on a hardware that is already running on Android 2.2 version and presently Dell Venue is the only Android phone that qualifies. Fascinatingly Dell lately discontinued its Streak phone running on Android 2.2 and is now offering the Dell Venue that runs on Android 2.2 which is the only phone that DOD employees can use.
The primary reason why the DOD chose Android is because of its open source platform. Android’s open source software provides a flexible security system as experts can navigate through each and every line of code to discover the presence of any potholes and immediately fix it. Moreover it can be easily configured by the Army in case they want to install any security measures. The DOD has approved just one single Android device that is Dell Venue based on the criteria that are: The device must be running on Android 2.2 with the Android Market removed from its core to be used by DOD staff. Moreover all sorts of web browsing done on the device must be routed and classified information must be accessed via DOD proxy server.
Using Apple’s iPhone or iOS on the other hand by government officials is a risk specially when used by non-American officials. iOS tracks all your movements through the in-built GPS chips. When the UK minister uses his/her iPad in the Parliament, everything that he/she puts on the iPad via iTunes moves down to the Apple servers. Alternatively if he/she uses iCloud, all the data will reside in Apple servers and Apple knows all that she does. Thus using Apple possess a potential security threat for all government officials since Apple knows everything that they do that should be otherwise remain classified. Apple also does not provide a flexible security system but is rather slow at fixing security holds in its products exposing users vulnerable to attacks.
Android’s approval by the Pentagon over iOS is indeed a major setback for Apple. Pentagon is still testing iOS devices but hasn’t approved of any till date as it is difficult to load customized security software into Apple’s system. Government officials also reported that they were quiet uncomfortable with Apple’s ability to track its user’s location. Blackberry is presently the only one used smartphone that officials are using on DOD networks and Android is the next step. Pentagon is already working on a widespread testing of smartphone prototypes to be utilized during combats.