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NSA approves virtualization-secured smartphone

Secure mobile devices may not be too far off after all.

Cog Systems announced that its D4 Secure Platform on the HTC One A9 Android smartphone has been added to the National Security Agency’s Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) list.

The D4 Secure Platform uses a secure hypervisor to connect to either on-premises or cloud-based infrastructure where the communications apps run. The platform features enhanced storage encryption, always-on non-bypassable VPN,  with support for double VPN (including IPSec) and enterprise VPN management.

"This mobile device built on the D4 Secure Platform also holds the unique distinction of running two separate layers of both data in transit and data at rest,” said Carl L. Nerup, Cog Systems’ chief marketing officer. “By being able to seamlessly run a true nested VPN right out of the box, the user can now run any app, any time on the D4 Secure mobile device."

The modified HTC phone with the D4 Secure Platform has been available since February 2016, but the inclusion of bare-metal virtualization on a mobile device is the first of its kind to be approved by the NSA, company officials said.

The CSfC program provides agencies with a list of components vetted against a common framework that satisfies NSA’s security requirements and allows commercial products to be used in layered  solutions to protect classified information, giving agencies the ability to securely communicate.

Cog Systems is also seeking certification for the D4/A9 combination against the National Information Assurance Partnership's mobile platform and IPSec VPN Client protection profiles, Techworld reported. Once Cog Systems has those approvals in hand, it plans to seek certification for D4 virtualization on other smartphones, CEO Dan Potts said.

There are other secure smartphones on the CSfC list, including those from Samsung, LG Electronics and BlackBerry.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA from West Chester University and an MA in English from the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at smiller@gcn.com or @sjaymiller.

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