Magazine article National Defense

Government Agencies Slow to Secure Mobile Devices

Magazine article National Defense

Government Agencies Slow to Secure Mobile Devices

Article excerpt

Many U.S. government agencies--including the Defense Department--have been sluggish to adopt new security guidelines to protect their employees' mobile devices, said one company executive.

Bob Stevens, federal vice president of federal systems for Lookout Mobile Security in San Francisco, said agencies need to develop new policies that can protect devices, keep rogue applications at bay and educate employees and stakeholders about mobile security best practices.

One area that needs improvement is application analysis, he said. Too often, agencies take too long--sometimes up to six or eight months--to determine whether an app is safe to use within their networks.

"I see the government sort of spinning its wheels when it comes to the applications that they want to download," he said. "There are tools out there today that can analyze those applications within minutes, and provide data that the government needs to make a decision."

When a client downloads an application to a mobile device, Lookout's team can compare it to a back-end collection of over 35 million apps, Stevens said.

"We're trying to determine if that application has risky behavior," he said. That could include sending out the user's contact information to a command-and-control server in another country, installed malware, or bugs and other vulnerabilities, he added. …

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