Combat Soldiers To Get Android Phones

Android Phone LogoThe US Department of Defense announced recently that it has approved the use of Samsung phones running a “hardened” version of Android. Android!! The smartphone operating system that has been the target of hackers since it’s inception! The same one that has been plagued with malware-laden applications from Google Play App Store!

What can DoD possibly be thinking?? Very possibly they’re not thinking at all; or they’d have stayed away, far away from Android phones. This purchase by the gigantic DoD will only cause the Android Target to be even larger and more attractive to cyber criminals, and possibly enemy nation-states. See Target: Mobile Devices, and Hackers Can Take Control Of Android Phones for more information.

According to  an article by Naked, the use of smartphones by military personnel will be to keep the troops more connected. It’s my expectation that the military service personnel will be plagued by malware on infected phones. They’ll be connected alright…to cyber criminals who control the malware, and spies of enemy nation-states who will take control of the phones of strategic leaders in order to eavesdrop on the battle plans of the US military and possibly interfere with the communications and battlefield orders. Hello!, DoD!, Wake Up!!

Be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.

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Images courtesy of and


Filed under Cybercrime, Google, In the News, Internet Security, malware, security, Warning

2 responses to “Combat Soldiers To Get Android Phones

  1. I think it makes perfect sense that the DoD is using Android. As they said, they are using a “hardened” version. The principal weakness of Android is also its strength: The open nature of its codebase.

    I’ve worked on hardening efforts in the past involving the UNIX OS. At the time, UNIX was very insecure. However, the work we performed hardened it for use in DoD applications at various security levels. The cost was in functionality.

    Here’s the problem: There are basically 3 viable smartphone platforms: Android, IOS and Windows. The latter two are closed systems, which would make them significantly more difficult (and costly) to harden and would require collaboration with Apple or Microsoft. There is no reason to believe that Android and the DOD-specific apps can’t be hardened sufficiently.

    My guess is that the phones will be quite secure, will not be prone to malware and will be useful for the intended use. However, this will significantly reduce (or eliminate) the phone’s applicability as a normal, consumer smartphone. This is supported by the Naked Security article indicating that these phones will be run off secure DoD networks not consumer networks. and they will get apps from government sanctioned “app stores”.

    Thats my 2c … Greg

    • Greg,
      Good to hear from you. Thanks for the comment, but I couldn’t disagree more. The open nature of Android makes it a bigger target, no matter what the DoD does with it, short of rewriting it. The secure DoD networks will not keep the phones safe from app spawned malware, which will continue to be developed despite DoD stating that they’ll get their apps from “government sanctioned” app stores. Meaning that unless DoD is willing to hire someone to deep dive the code on every app in the store to uncover imbedded malware, you’ll still have a problem. And I’ll bet those “secure” DoD networks are the same ones that have already been compromised by foreign nation-states as recent as last year.
      I think the bottom line here is that you’re trusting everything to be done perfectly and that all will be well; while I’m not trusting anything the DoD is stating they’ll do. They have a history of using lowest price contractors who don’t deliver as promised to do their work and it’s not a pretty one. So, no, I’m not buying what they or you are saying at this point. I guess time will tell.

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