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Android Made More Secure for Army Grunts

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Earlier today, Lifehacker ran down a few of the stupidest things that people do with their smartphones. The list includes distracted driving, relying on gadgets for everything, and ignoring real life people in favor of your iPhone (AAPL) or Blackberry (RIMM).

However, it might be the most easily forgotten item on the list that stands as the most important. Many of us fail to properly secure our smartphones, leaving private data vulnerable to thieves and snooping apps. A password and remote data wipe can help solve this problem.

Interestingly enough, issues of smartphone security have spread far past our country’s borders. For those defending America in the Middle East, secure smartphones can be a matter of crucial importance.

According to the New York Times, recent increases in smartphone use in the military have led to a new and interesting set of problems for active duty soldiers. Many soldiers in the field now use tablets and smartphones, and these are often filled with all sorts of sensitive information. If a device is lost or stolen, the information in it could cost American lives.

Luckily, the big wigs at DARPA are working on a solution. Fairfax, Virginia’s Invincea has been given a $21 million grant to work on security solutions for Android (GOOG)-based phones.

The researchers are working to address two distinct problems. The first is what to do when a phone falls into enemy hands, as remote data wipes can still leave information on devices. The second is preventing malware from infiltrating US soldiers’ phones.

Well, Invincea has managed to solve the first problem with innovative new software. The company has developed a program that “encrypts files in the operating system and fills up the memory in a device with random, useless data.”

They are currently working on solutions to the malware issue. Right now, the company is looking at ways to prevent outside programs like Facebook (FB) from accessing data on military users’ phones. This is particularly important as programs related to the war effort often sit next to more run of the mill apps.

The only question is, when will this technology become available to civilians?

(See also: Hackers Prevent iOS 6 From Turning Into Android)
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