NIST seeks help in testing iPad, iPhone security for government use

According to a solicitation through, the purpose of the pilot is “to determine how best to proceed to provide a managed, secure configuration for NIST users of these devices.”

NIST ended up awarding a $44,000 contract to Videotape Products of Burbank, Calif., for the pilot.

The adoption of the iPad and iPhone in the workplace has accelerated rapidly. The iPad in particular has been dominating the enterprise tablet market, with 95% of business tablet activations, according to a recent survey by Good Technology. Android tablets, such as the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, declined to 3.1% of overall tablet activations in the second quarter of 2011.

However, there are security concerns about iPad and iPhone use in the workplace. Their iOS operating system is vulnerable to jailbreaking and the increased security risks that poses.

Apple has tried to patch the iOS security flaws to prevent jailbreaking. But as Infosecurity has noted, there is an army of software developers making a living from jailbreaking. As each jailbreak-enabling exploit is patched, others are revealed by astute programmers working steadily to reverse engineer the Apple mobile operating system.

So, widespread use of iPads and iPhones by the government is questionable until Apple can develop greater security for the iOS operating system.

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