The National Security Agency is looking to use smartphones to access their network of classified data from mobile devices, but are having problems developing a truly secure device. As with any new technological advancement that the government must keep up with, there are challenges that have to be addressed in a way that keeps current systems running in a secure and accessible manner. Such challenges are met by people such as NSA's mobility mission manager, Troy Lange, who is currently working on a way to get smartphones into the hands of every governmental employee for increased efficiency. Smartphones in the civilian sector offer obvious benefits towards increased efficiency. Lange and others in charge of closing the technological gap within our governmental services, face not only ridicule from employees who experience more efficiency in their 'civvies' rather than uniform, but also the constant threat of hackers. Mobiledia reports further by exemplifying 'hacktivist group' Anonymous, whose latest exploits "hit a FBI cyber-security contractor just last month, posting nearly 400 megabytes of files from ManTech, an online security contractor for the FBI, NATO, and U.S. Defense, State and Justice Departments. U.S. Army personnel files and e-mails were among the items publicized." Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs), or buildings designated by the NSA which house many restrictions to ensure secure handling of classified information, currently disallow any outside phone from use. The U.S. government already implements secure cell phones with access to the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network for top-tier communications; however, it has been found that the network cannot handle the wireless data usage of smartphones. As there is no wireless network within SCIFs, agents like Lange must access work-specific data from hard-lined terminals. "It's moving away from this whole concept between a classified device and an unclassified device. It's the information that is classified. So the intent is how can I gain access to that classified information in a mobile way," stated Lange, in preparation for a pilot project using smartphones specifically developed with governmental security concerns in mind. The pilot will begin using consumer-grade smartphones with NSA-developed security features protecting said classified information. While the many consumers are plagued by choice over which cell phone covers or cell phone cases should cover their prized devices, security concerns must be addressed in order to allow smartphones a governmental role.

Posted by David Yi, Social Media and SEO Assistant at Wireless Emporium