There are some unhappy seamen in the U.S. today, now that the Navy has locked down their BlackBerrys to some pretty rigorous standards. PIN-to-PIN messaging, GPS, the application loader and third-party program installations have all been restricted, and as usual users will have to cycle through alphanumeric passwords every 3 months. On top of that, after 5 unsuccessful log-ins the device gets locked down and local data erased. For extra security, BlackBerrys’ radio antennae will become deactivated whenever they’re hooked up to a desktop. To be fair, these aren’t incredibly tough standards to work with, especially for a military organization. It does, however, give corporate IT admins something to wave when their BlackBerry users complain about existing restrictions.
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If you were ever wondering why the BlackBerry wasn’t secure enough for France, you might want to take a look at the Sectéra Edge, the smartphone that’s being developed for the NSA and soldiers in the field. Some of the security features include:
* Secure wireless access to the SIPRNET and NIPRNET
* DoD PKI enabled Common Access Card (CAC) support
* Supports DoD 8100.2 requirements
* Type 1 encrypted storage of classified data
* Can be used inside closed areas with “SCIF-Friendly” mode
On top of that, this thing was built extra-rugged for combat conditions, as seen in their demo video. The Edge works on CDMA, GSM and Wi-Fi, and also plays nice with S/MIME BlackBerry users. Apparently the NSA has ordered up $300-million-worth of these things over the next five years, so if you’re in the U.S. Army, keep your eyes peeled.