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Pentagon nod shows Android can be as secure as BlackBerry

Antone Gonsalves | May 6, 2013
Samsung's Knox system for Android devices gets approval for use in government and military like the BlackBerry, once the gold standard

Samsung worked with the National Security Agency (NSA) in developing Knox, which the company hopes will attract corporate customers despite apprehension over Android security. Projections show there is a market. IDC predicts that a third of the 737 million Android smartphones shipped in 2016 will be used in business. Android today accounts for about 70% of the smartphone market.

Because of Android's market clout, Samsung is not expected to be alone in making Android enterprise ready. HTC, Motorola and LG have established business units with the same goal.

While Knox looks good on paper, the real test of the platform will come once it is in use by government and corporate customers. "I'm sure attackers will see what they can do with this new system knowing that there are government assets running it, so time will tell how secure it is," said John Grady, an analyst with IDC.

In the meantime, other companies are building additional security on top of Knox, so Samsung devices can be used in classified networks. General Dynamics has built a hardened version of Android that uses the company's root certificates instead of Samsung's. General Dynamics plans to make its technology available for use on any Android smartphone.

 

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