Air Force looks to a wireless mobile future

Air Force looks to a wireless mobile future

The Air Force should take a cautious stance on personal digital assistants before rushing to roll them out for widespread use, says a technical sergeant for the New York Air National Guard.

'No known PDA has successfully passed security testing and evaluation, operational testing and evaluation, intrusion vulnerability or penetration testing,' said Aaron S. Correll, a systems analyst with the Guard in Syracuse, N.Y. 'You put these devices under close scrutiny, they don't hold up.'

Correll spoke at a jam-packed session yesterday during the Air Force Information Technology Conference in Montgomery, Ala.

Despite the security concerns, Correll said, the Air Force needs to look at building a mobile strategy based on wireless devices. He suggested that the recently revised Air Force Instruction 33-202, which contains significant changes concerning PDA security, is a first step toward that goal.

For instance, PDAs must now be password-protected. They must be turned off when not in use. Users of government-issued PDAs cannot connect or subscribe to any commercial Internet service for e-mail because of 'the high operational risk posed by the possible collection of sensitive information.'

'The fear there is we'll have Air Force information floating about the globe,' Correll said. 'We're trying to start thinking about this.'

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