Samsung plans to turn smartphones into data safes
Like the home of the US government's gold reserves, Samsung's KNOX project is all about keeping intruders out. Samsung's version, however, will not protect precious metals, but business data in mobile device storage. KNOX, which was unveiled today, is based on SE Android, the Android version of SELinux that was originally developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA).
KNOX is an integrated management application which makes the kernel extensions provided by SELinux generally usable under Android and sets up strictly separated working areas for kernel functions and individual applications. What this means is that business content, ranging from email, contacts and calendar entries to browser history and business-related apps, is encrypted at the file level and placed in a container. Containerised content can then be addressed via icons or from relevant apps – assuming, that is, that the user can enter the required access privileges.
Samsung KNOX is expected to be launched in the second quarter of this year in conjunction with selected Galaxy mobile devices and is one ingredient of the SAFE (Samsung for Enterprise) framework. SAFE also includes a client program for interacting with Microsoft Exchange Server and tools for encrypting whole disks and for setting up VPN connections. Samsung's aim for the project is to make it easier for businesses to securely connect employees' own mobile devices to company networks (bring your own device) and to help it compete with BlackBerry, in particular.