Android approved, sort of, for DOD networks

For the first time, a mobile operating system that is both widely used and runs on a device that’s not a Blackberry can access Pentagon computer networks.

The Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, this week released guidance for securely connecting with devices that run the Dell version of the Android 2.2 OS, which can run on both smartphones and tablet computers.

But don’t log on with your personal Android phone just yet. According to documents released Thursday, Android still can’t freely be used on defense networks.

“The use of this guide and technology supported by this guide is strictly for pilots, tests, and proof of concepts,” according to the DISA Interim Security Configuration Guide.

Enterprise-wide Android will be authorized only after further testing, DISA said. Additionally, no classified information is allowed on Android devices for now.

With Android moving toward wide-scale use in DOD, the other leading smartphone operating system, Apple’s iOS, is still barred. DISA told Stars and Stripes recently that the agency needed more input from Apple before it could allow users to connect to Pentagon networks with iPhones and iPads.

Computer security experts say Android is proving easier for Pentagon cybersecurity personnel to work with. Its open-source software allows DOD programmers to configure it as needed, and unlike iOS, Android can run commercial antivirus software.


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