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Secure Android Kernel Could Make For 'classified' Smart Phones

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Android phone

Ramona Rosales for Newsweek

Researchers at George Mason University, the U.S. National Security Agency, and Google have developed a hardened kernel for the Android 3.0 operating system that could make smartphones available for military operations and emergency response teams.

The kernel enables the U.S. Army to issue smartphones or tablet devices to troops in combat. The White House also is interested because the hardened kernel could help fulfill a government plan to create a secure national wireless network for first responders. The problem with getting the military to use smartphones has been attaining the right security accreditation.

The new Android kernel is currently being tested for a Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 certification. "That's the first level of security that we've got to get before we start moving onto being able to ultimately do secret [communications]," says the Army's Michael McCarthy.

The White House Communications Office wants to move the executive branch from BlackBerry devices to Android-based phones because the new kernel allows Android systems to be secured at a higher clearance level, McCarthy says.

From Government Computer News
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