Malware detection and network security contractor Invincea has been awarded a $21.4 million contract to secure the Google Android OS for military use. The award was given to the company by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL).
The contract requires that Invincea figure out how to secure both smartphone and tablet devices running the Android operating system.
After the platform is secure as part of the “Mobile Armor” program the contract plans to bring its security offerings to commercial and consumer products.
One of the biggest concerns is the physical loss of devices which could post security threats in the field. According to Invincea CEO Anup Ghosh.
“They [DARPA] are really worried about loss of the device. God forbid you are captured and you lose the device that way.”
A modified Android core is already being tested in Afghanistan and Invincea will focus on controlling access to devices so only pre-selected applications can run without further permissions being given. By creating a “white list” approach the developed program can then detect attacks and stop exploits.
Apple was first chosen as a more secure operating system however the company refused to share source code for governmental modification which led government agencies to shift their focus to the Google Android operating system.
A secure version of the Google Android operating system is already being used by the NSA, however that device has been customized specifically for the agencies personal needs and not for general military use.