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NSA Builds Android Phone Secure Enough for Classified Calls

The NSA is apparently developing an Android phone secure enough for agency communications. The National Security Agency's Technical Director, Margaret Salter, talked about the phones, dubbed 'Fishbowl' devices, at the RSA security conference in San Francisco earlier this week. According to SC Magazine, the NSA is hoping to encourage handset companies to incorporate aspects of the Fishbowl phones in their devices.

At the moment, commercially available phones require NSA personnel to communicate in code. However, NSA employees were able to freely discuss classified information using the Fishbowl phones, which were put together using off-the-shelf commercially available components.

"The plan was to buy commercial components, layer them together and get a secure solution," Salter said. "It uses solely commercial infrastructure to protect classified data."

SC Magazine, which attended the demonstration at the RSA Security Conference, says voice calls are encrypted twice using IPSEC and SRTP. Furthermore, all outgoing traffic from the phone must be routed through the NSA.

"If we let it go to all kinds of places, we lost control of figuring out what the phone was doing," Salter said. "If I want pizza, I have to go through the enterprise which has to route me to Pizza Hut."

Users of the phone were also able to download defense apps from an enterprise app store run by the US Defence Information Systems Agency. This means only secure applications will make it onto the device and the NSA doesn't have to worry about third-party software compromising handsets.

For more on the agency's mobility solutions, head over to the NSA's website.

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