U.S. National Security Agency: We Heart Android

by Ostatic Staff - Jan. 17, 2012

Android gets its fair share of criticism from IT administrators, many of whom don't trust it as a secure platform. Now, though, a new fork of the mobile operating system--built to be ultra-secure--is in the wild and was built by the U.S. Defense Department's National Security Agency (NSA).  According to a post online, the secure version of Android is called SE Android and is built on SE Linux.

You can find the post announcing the arrival of SE Android here, and there is much more information about this security-tested version here. According to the project's wiki page:

"Security Enhanced (SE) Android is a project to identify and address critical gaps in the security of Android. Initially, the SE Android project is enabling the use of SELinux in Android in order to limit the damage that can be done by flawed or malicious apps and in order to enforce separation guarantees between apps. However, the scope of the SE Android project is not limited to SELinux."

The Register notes that this project was first discussed at last year's Linux Security Summit. What's really notable is that the NSA has clearly structured SE Android as an open source project, doing everything in very open fashion. This falls in line with several initiatives from the U.S. government to observe open source principles and release key source code. The U.S. Army is also pursuing Android as a promising platform for soldiers.

In addition to the information about SE Android, you can find out much more about SE Linux at this NSA page.