Why you should trust Apple and buy iPads!
18/03/2012 1 Comment
Every iFan knows deep down in their Cupertino soul and polo necked jumper that Apple devices are as American and trustworthy as mum’s Apple pie, so why has the US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) cancelled its purchase of iPads.
To understand this you need to look at the back story.
It all started back on December 2011 when AFSOC had planned to junk paper navigation charts and technical manuals and acquire 2,861 iPad 2s to serve as electronic flight bags for crews.
The test by for AFSOC was rushed through in a three-month product evaluation.
The iPads would contain digital versions of National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Flight Information Publications for navigation, which would be updated as often as every month, and aircraft technical manuals, so pretty secret stuff then.
The AFSOC planned to equip its iPads with GoodReader software from Good.iware. They said it met mission security requirements and that GoodReader encrypts files to ensure data is secure even if an iPhone or iPad is lost or stolen. AFSOC said its iPads will use Wi-Fi communications for updates through a global network infrastructure.
This was all going well for Apple until an article in Nextgov.com pointed out a couple of major issues with the purchase. You can see the full article here.
Currently serving and former military officials question why AFSOC, which operates a fleet of specialized gunships and surveillance aircraft, would allow its pilots to rely on software developed in Russia.
They also questioned the command’s vetting process for Good.iWare, which one active-duty official pointed out has a website that lacks basic contact information.
Michael McCarthy, director of the Army’s smartphone project, Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications, based in Fort Bliss, Texas, questioned the plan. “I would not use encryption software developed in Russia. I don’t want to put users at risk” he said, adding that he was concerned about the integrity of the supply chain with GoodReader. In November, he expressed similar concerns about the integrity of Apple’s Chinese hardware supply chain.
I am not anti-Russian or anti-Chinese but there are some real issues with this.
Consider that most US based security software have back doors of some form in it for the US secret service etc., the same is true for Russian and Chinese security software.
The concept of any first world power using security that was not sourced from within its own control is both scary, stupid and utterly predictable from upper management seeking to cut corners.
Asides from any concern of a 3rd world war, is the far more real and present cyber war being carried out by national security agencies or their proxies against other countries national securities agencies and their proxies. The iPad, and iPhone that would have followed would prove to be a soft underbelly for any security hack against so-called secure sites.
With Apples loss of this contract to AFSOC, perhaps others will take note of security risks of deploying Apple devices, even if they care nothing about human rights. However I doubt very much if most people will care.
The current Chinese government thinks nothing of its own people’s human and digital rights why should it have any concern for the rights of those outside of China. Does anyone think that after being caught hacking in Google that China is still not involved in industrial espionage?
- Air Force Grounds Plan for Cockpit iPads (allthingsd.com)
- Air Force Special Operations Command using Russian encryption software on made-in-China iPADs (theaviationist.com)
- Air Force backtracks on iPad purchase (electronista.com)
- Say It Aint So: USAF AFSOC iPads, Russian Security Software and National Security (infosecurity.us)