DOD ramps up mobile security

The Defense Innovation Unit selected Zimperium’s mobile endpoint protection platform to help shore up security of devices accessing DOD’s unclassified applications and data.

To better protect mobile devices that warfighters use, the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is readying a mobile threat application that analyzes for problems on Defense Department-issued devices and shares findings in the cloud.

“DOD must protect mobile devices from attacks such as phishing, malicious risky apps, operating system exploitation and network attacks,” Rick Simon, cyber portfolio program manager at DIU, wrote in an email response to GCN’s questions. “Previous methods aimed at addressing this gap in security had been minimally successful.” 

The department recognizes that warfighters’ mobile endpoints face the same threats consumers’ devices do, but the loss of confidential information and credentials at DOD could lead to a national security issue, Simon said.

DIU selected Zimperium’s mobile endpoint protection platform to help shore up DOD’s unclassified mobile offerings. It will monitor users of the Defense Information Systems Agency’s DOD Mobility Unclassified Capability (DMUC) when they access applications and data on Apple iOS and Android endpoints while on the move.

Zimperium’s app gets pushed to the devices and checks what networks they’re connecting to, what apps are being downloaded and the security of links users click on. Users must do an initial activation, and then the app is always on.

“If you’re connected through a Wi-Fi router and someone starts eavesdropping on it … it will immediately warn against that and disconnect it from the router,” said Zimperium CEO Shridhar Mittal.

Although detections are done on the devices themselves -- rather than being sent to the cloud for analysis -- in support of DOD privacy policies, “when we do find a threat, we do report it so that action can be taken to protect the device and to protect the DOD through the cloud connection,” Mittal added.

The solution uses Zimperium’s machine learning-based engine called z9 and its zIPS, which can detect and stop threats across the kill chain. What’s more, it can detect attacks in the absence of network access and allows for an on-premises management approach in addition to cloud, Simon said.

DISA approached DIU about prototyping a mobile threat defense solution about two years ago, Mittal said. Zimperium announced the contract in October 2020. It was awarded through DIU’s Commercial Solutions Opening and Other Transaction Authority.

“DISA is preparing to deploy the Zimperium agent onto selected DISA-issued mobile devices,” Simon said, and Mittal added that he expects it to be deployed on hundreds of thousands of devices.

Although the effort began before the pandemic hit, COVID’s impact of remote work has heightened the importance of mobile security. “Since the pandemic began, DOD employees have been accessing information and collaborating from outside the [DOD Information Network] in great numbers,” Simon said. “That remote access over the internet extends to both laptops and mobile devices. Everything that can be done to better protect endpoint devices and the information moving to or from them is helpful.”

Zimperium’s solution also supports the zero trust cybersecurity approach, which is gaining traction in government, including at DOD. Using it, devices trust no one without authorization and even then may allow access only to part of the network.

“We provide device attestation -- or in simple words, it’s basically the health of the device -- to the zero trust framework,” Mittal said. “If we detect there is something wrong with this device, it can cut off access or limit the amount of authority that this person has in terms of corporate data.”

In general, Mittal said, when people work remotely, they tend to use mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. “You need to be able to access all kinds of corporate data, and today, if those devices are compromised, the information on the device or the information that’s coming from the corporate network can be compromised,” he said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.