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Samsung smartphones, tablets running Knox get U.S. Defense Department approval

Knox software now runs in Galaxy S 4 firmware; BlackBerry devices also approved this week by DoD

Samsung said Friday that its smartphones and tablets running its Knox security and management software have been cleared for use on the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) network.

BlackBerry had announced yesterday that the DoD had approved the use of BlackBerry 10 smartphones and PlayBook tablets on its network.

The DoD wasn't available for comment.

Samsung's Knox software currently runs in the firmware of the new Galaxy S 4 smartphone, providing a series of security controls. The company plans to incorporate the software into other coming devices.

Nearly all the management and security capabilities of Knox require a connection to a special management server run by IT shops inside a firewall.

The BlackBerry Balance security features require that BlackBerry devices are linked to a BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 server.

Both Balance and Knox allow users to separate personal and work data on a phone or tablet. Therefore, if the worker loses the device or leaves a job with the device, the IT shop can wipe corporate data from the smartphone or tablet without affecting personal photos, games and other data.

Samsung recently said a full featured version of Knox won't be available until a later date, which is dependent on service-side activations by distributors, including carriers.

BlackBerry hasn't said how its BES 10 activations are going.

The DoD's approval marks the first time that an Android-powered device met the agency's security standard, Samsung said.

Samsung plans to seek certification from other governments and international certification groups.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.

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