Based on a recent report published by Bloomberg, Apple and Samsung, the two most popular smartphone manufacturers at present could subject the Pentagon to cyber-attacks if users’ access to unclassified networks is granted. The Department of Defense has adopted this decision in order to give employees the possibility to connect to their unclassified networks using Samsung and Apple’s devices.
Cyber security officials did not agree with the announcement that the Pentagon made at the beginning of the week. The U.S. military institution revealed on Tuesday that they want to open communication networks to Apple and Samsung devices, be they tablets or smartphones. This move would enable the two smartphone makers to make their presence felt on a market that is currently dominated by BlackBerry. At present, there are approximately 600,000 mobile devices used by the U.S. military and 470,000 of them belong to the Waterloo, Ontario-based company.
Pat McGarry, principal systems engineer at network security company Ixia, on the other hand, disagrees with the Pentagon’s decision. He told the press that the Department of Defense would become vulnerable to cyber security breaches if they allow gadgets like Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple iPhone 5 to access their communication networks. He described the entire situation as a “debacle, a disaster waiting to happen”. He justified his beliefs by saying that the devices produced by Apple and Samsung are prone to malware infestation and there is no software that could prevent this from happening.
In spite of these warnings, the U.S. military has, nevertheless, approved the use of Samsung devices running on a secure version of Google’s Android operating system on May 2. Pentagon offices were also allowed to use the BlackBerry PlayBook tablets and the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones. According to officials’ declaration, Apple could win approval this week, ahead of the South Korean company.
Mark Orndorff, a program executive officer at the Defense Information Systems Agency, replied that Samsung and Apple devices pose an acceptable degree of risk for unclassified communications. He concluded by reassuring the media that various tests will be performed in order to determine whether the products are safe or not.