US Department of Defense approves use of Android devices in Pentagon, despite security fears

By Danny Palmer
09 Jun 2014 View Comments
Samsung Galaxy S4

The United States Department of Defense  (DoD) has added five Samsung Galaxy smartphone and tablet devices to its list of approved products, despite often voiced concerns that the Google Android operating system is insecure.

Indeed, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice have previously warned that Android products are 100 times more likely to contract malware and viruses than Apple's IOS-operated iPhones and iPads.

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However, that hasn't stopped the DoD from adding Samsung's Galaxy S4, Galaxy S4 Active, Galaxy Note 3 smartphones to its list of approved devices, along with two Galaxy Note tablets. All of the Samsung smartphones and tablets will run Android 4.4.

The devices will also be equipped with Knox, Samsung's own enterprise security platform for Android devices, featuring encryption, VPN and application containers designed to securely protect documents and files.

The announcement that the Google Android devices have been approved for use comes as Samsung looks to drive its way into the enterprise mobility space with devices designed to be secure enough to use in even the most secretive environments.

"The addition of these five devices to the APL with the Knox Platform, brings together the holistic B2B vision of Samsung to lead the market in hardware and software integrated based secure mobility and user experience for the benefit of the US government in delivering on their mission," said Injong Rhee, senior vice president of Knox Business, IT and mobile communications division at Samsung.

"Moreover, it is this unique combination of security and interoperability enables Samsung to meet the DoD's rigorous requirements with an unparalleled selection of commercial off-the-shelf devices, pre-approved for US military and federal use," he added.

However, Samsung is arguably rather late to the party when it comes to being an approved provider of mobile devices to the Pentagon. Windows 8 devices were authorised for use within the department as part of a joint enterprise licensing agreement made with Microsoft early last year, while several iPhone and iPad models are also on the list of approved devices.

BlackBerry devices are also on the list of permitted products for Pentagon staff, with BB10 devices gaining approval in May last year. BlackBerry has a long history of being the mobile device provider of choice for governments, with the security offered seen as a key benefit.

However, a recent Computing report revealed that CIOs in the wider business world are increasingly losing faith in what the Canadian firm has to offer, opting to replace BlackBerry with Apple's iPhone.

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