AUSA: Soldiers’ iPhones don’t equal cyber dangers

The Army says smartphones will be safe, but officials still don't have any way of knowing that for sure.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Army’s goal of providing every soldier with a smartphone will not necessarily pose serious cyber risks for the service, said Brig. Gen. Harold Greene, the Program Executive Officer for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors.

Of course, he followed that up saying the Army isn’t quite sure yet when it has a cyber vulnerability.

“We don’t have a good metric to measure what is cyber hardened and what is not,” Greene said at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Winter Symposium here.

Army leaders have worked hard to try keep pace with the smartphones most soldiers already own. Officials have acknowledged their acquisition process is too slow.

To help keep up, Army officials chose to use open architecture phones that allow more companies to build the software featured on the phones. Think Android versus Apple, although the Army is quick say it wants to include Apple, which features closed architecture, in the service’s smartphone competition.

Greene said the Army’s choice of open architecture phones does not mean the service is more likely to get hit by cyber attacks.

Concerns still exist inside the service over a cultural shift to empower more soldiers with their own phones. Greene received multiple questions from the crowd over the phones’ safety.

“I don’t equate cyber threats with open versus closed,” Greene said.