Tuesday, July 31, 2012
IDF's smartphone revolution raises spy concerns
Hundreds of smartphones will be handed out to IDF officers starting Wednesday as the army abandons its outdated Mirs devices. While officers are sure to be eager to explore the exciting world of apps, Military Intelligence officials are worried that the new devices will compromise information security.
The concern is that smartphones operating on the GSM network, which is considered less safe than Mirs, will be more exposed to remote attacks which could switch on the microphone or extract messages and photos. It is also feared that enemy agents will be better able to track the smartphone holders' location.
Military Intelligence officers are also concerned that soldiers given the new devices will use them to save classified information, including photos taken at army bases, classified text messages and recordings of meetings. Smartphones connected to army computers could compromise saved files.
Anticipating new information security problems, the IDF will equip all officers with guidelines on how to use their new phones. They will not be allowed inside classified spaces such as command posts, meeting rooms and during operational activity.
Each smartphone will come complete with special protection software meant to reduce the number of potential "intruders."
"The software won't provide hermetic protection but will indicate when the device has been attacked, allowing us to respond quickly," an IDF official said.
He noted that tracking will be done according to the law and without violating privacy. The IDF also intends to launch a wide-scale campaign to encourage careful use of computers.