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BlackBerry beware: Samsung Knox brings NSA-level security to enterprise

News by Andrew Kameka on Monday February 25, 2013.

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Samsung was rumored to aggressively compete with BlackBerry for mobile device management in the enterprise market, and Samsung confirmed that with today's announcement of KNOX, a new feature that incorporates the Security Enhanced version of Android developed by the National Security Agency (NSA).

The NSA developed Security Enhanced Android in order to close several vulnerabilities and create a more strict and controllable environment. KNOX incorporates those security enhancements to create a container the keeps work and personal separate on the same device. SE Android keeps unauthorized apps from accessing corporate data or infecting devices and systems with malware and exploits to obtain information. With one touch, users can launch the KNOX container to access company-approved apps for email, web browsing, contacts, calendars, file sharing, and more. Standard Android apps (Calendar, Browser, etc.) that come preloaded on the device can access data linked to KNOX, but apps that are downloaded or installed by the user will not be able to authorize data without permission from IT managers.

If KNOX sounds at all familiar, it's because BlackBerry 10 does something identical with BlackBerry Balance. BlackBerry developed its platform to support enterprise apps and data being kept securely in one area but permitting the user to have personal apps installed on a phone and free from corporate oversight. The switch between work and personal is pretty seamless and doesn't require lengthy switching between modes, something that KNOX also aspires to do. Other solutions like Enterproid's Divide have been available for companies looking for added enterprise features on Android, but KNOX is poised to be much larger and a bigger threat to an area once wholly-owned by BlackBerry.

Samsung says that KNOX is "aligned" with Samsung For Enterprise (SAFE), its previous corporate security endeavor to ease fears of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs. KNOX will ship preloaded on some Samsung Galaxy devices later this year, the first of which I'd wager will be the Samsung Galaxy S IV.

source: Samsung

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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