Government-grade security for Android phones

A United States-based defence contractor is developing technology that will provide government-level security to Android-powered phones.

General Dynamics Corp, an aerospace company headquartered in Virginia, aims to secure consumer phones so that they can be used for encrypted voice calls, secured emailing and Web browsing as well as access classified and unclassified networks including the U.S. government’s SPIRNET and NIPRNET, according to a report from Such devices can be ideal for use in miliatry or police organizations, government departments or by personnel working with sensitive information.
Will this device be handling classified calls and documents soon?

General Dynamics specializes in marine systems, combat systems, information systems and aerospace. The company has offices in Calgary. General Dynamics Canada provides systems integration, fleet management, tactical computing, network solutions and fire controls for military organizations.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, General Dynamics demonstrated two Android-powered mobile devices running their custom “GD protected” firmware.


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The firmware is a hardened version of the Android operating system beefed up with additional security features, according to General Dynamics. The company also demonstrated a revised two-factor sign-on process for the devices which included authentication from a government Common Access Card inserted in a Bluetooth card reader and a PIN code on the phone.

One of the phones was a Samsung Galaxy S III that had the firmware running on top of Samsung’s KNOX security platform. KNOX is Samsung’s recently released mobile device management solution aimed at the enterprise market.

The other phone was a Samsung Galaxy S IV which has running two versions of Android, one for consumers use and the other for business use. The consumer side of the phone functions just like a conventional cell phone, while the business portion is more secure but restricted. Data between the two sides is firewalled.

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