OMB Official: Mobile Tech Security Standards are Certain

The office is developing a ‘state of the union’ on what’s going on with the security aspects of mobile.
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A White House official who oversees government use of mobile technologies says the technology is “not secure,” and standards are being developed that will increase security.

Janice Nall, e-gov portfolio manager for the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was speaking at the 2011 Government Web and New Media Conference in Washington, D.C. when she said, mobile technologies have “not kept up with the wired industry in terms of security” and “are about ten years behind.”

Therefore, OMB is developing “a ‘state of the union’ on what’s going on with the security aspects of mobile,” Nall said. The security assessment would examine more than phones, but also other wireless products. “People don’t just want one device, we mostly want whatever is convenient,” she said. “It’s not just phones, it’s tablets, and the scanners that people use at the airport to scan bags, and it’s networks, and medical devices; all these things that have been developed have so much access to our personal information and our whereabouts,” she said.

As use of those technologies grows in people’s personal lives, those devices are also expected in user’s professional lives, Nall said. However, unless the security problems are solved, users will not be able to do 10 percent of what is possible in mobile computing, she said.

“Our systems are really not prepared to provide that level of security,” she said. Therefore, as part of the assessment Nall is “pushing for agencies to have a mobile strategy (and) to really think through how they plan to use it,” she said, adding, “there’s going to be a lot more security.” The assessment will be useful for developing security protocols, and “mobile security standards are coming out,” she said.