Enterprise IT Watch Blog

Apr 11 2011   12:44PM GMT

DARPA’s cyber spooks look to power up Android, iPhone security



Posted by: Michael Morisy
Tags:
DARPA
Mobile Computing
Mobile Encryption
mobile security

There’s probably no more exciting, imagination-capturing branch of military research thanĀ DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). They’ve brought us robo-hummingbird spies, self-driving hummers and, last but not least, the Internet.

So they can be excused for wanting just a little something in return: To be able to use their iPhones and Androids securely. From a recent Request for Information:

The primary purpose of this RFI is to discover new technologies and methods to support full disk and system encryption of the CMDs (specifically Apple and Android platforms) to include a pre-boot environment to load the operating system. The solution must use an AES-256 bit encryption algorithm compliant with FIPS 140-2 as published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In order to meet this objective, DARPA extends an invitation to industry and universities to submit a whitepaper with ideas/concepts that describe an innovative existing technology approach that can be deployed in less than 90 days.

Currently only Blackberries and high-end secured phones are allowed in many DoD environments, meaning Angry Birds is out. It sounds like DARPA is looking for a full-drive encryption bootloader to pick up where the consumer-friendly Droids and iPhones have left off. To be fair, Apple has beefed up its security offerings in recent iterations (with a few nay sayers), but the business need isn’t new. In my time reporting on mobile devices, I’ve heard any number of security schemes to get around security concerns: Everything run as SaaS, with no sensitive local data stored; A specialized encrypted card that held or encrypted and decrypted the data; and a number of virtualized environments that sat (supposedly) securely inside the everything goes-consumer devices.

It will be interesting to see what DARPA picks: Freedom of Information request, anyone?

Michael Morisy is the editorial director for ITKnowledgeExchange. He can be followed on Twitter or you can reach him at Michael@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.

 Comment on this Post

 
There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: