or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPad › Federal contractor alters 'thousands' of iPads for secure government use
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Federal contractor alters 'thousands' of iPads for secure government use

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
CACI International Inc., a contractor that delivers various information technology services to the U.S. government, said that it has modified the hardware of thousands of iPads so that the Apple tablets can be used securely by government officials.

CACI


The security firm's chief executive officer Dan Allen told Bloomberg that the iPad modifications are an example of a push toward mobile technology, a strategy being implemented as a result of reduced revenue associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unlike conventional security measures that use software to handicap or otherwise alter mobile devices, CACI's solution involves altering the iPad's hardware. According to Allen, the iPad's wireless capabilities and front and rear-facing cameras pose the greatest threat to security in top-secret installations.

?It?s a neutered iPad,? Allen said. ?We?re working on how do we effectively brand it.?

The executive did not specify what techniques are being used to secure the iPad's hardware.

A number of U.S. officials are known to use Apple products, including President Barack Obama, who received a pre-release version of the iPad 2 from late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Allen noted that the iPads seen being used by top government officials are, ?Most likely a product that either came from us or came from someone we work with.?
post #2 of 34
They'll still figure out how to use them to view porn.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #3 of 34
I bet they're installed in big padlocked diving helmets. That would be cool.
post #4 of 34
Leave it to governments to find a way to make something more expensive.
post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"It's a neutered iPad," Allen said. "We're working on how do we effectively brand it."

Lol.

post #6 of 34

We're working on how do we effectively brand it?

 

If it's the cameras being rendered unusable, how about calling them blindPads, no-i-Pads, or i-less-Pads?

post #7 of 34

...but, but, but, such a thing is unpossible, iOS devices are locked into iTunes and the Apple ecosystem.

 

I read it on the Internet.

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
post #8 of 34
And rendered them all warranty less via third party modification. If they did them literally themselves

What's more logical is that this company work as a middle man to arrange for Apple to build a guaranteed amount of units that just don't have cameras etc installed.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #9 of 34

This is reminiscent of what the Singapore government did - they arranged for the cameras to be removed from iPhones before giving them to their military personnel. There is also a cottage industry providing a service to "neuter" cameras on all varieties of smartphones. Their customers are typically companies which ban camera phones.

post #10 of 34
So they can play Angry Birds - Classified Edition.
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

...but, but, but, such a thing is unpossible, iOS devices are locked into iTunes and the Apple ecosystem.

 

I read it on the Internet.

 

I wonder if whomever questioned my background on us doing this at NeXT and Apple will realize there is Consumer, Enterprise [business iOS] and then Government and large paying customers. Custom down to what you need.

post #12 of 34

We are not allowed to take pictures of our federal facility.  Even if we are off base and still in an official capacity we cannot take pictures of each other without consent of the person we are photographing.  So an iPad with a camera makes the chance of a violation of federal law highly likely.

An Apple man since 1977
Reply
An Apple man since 1977
Reply
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

So they can play Angry Birds - Classified Edition.

 

Ha.  Or  Angry Birds - Predator Drone Pilot version!

 

--

 

Companies have been removing or covering cameras on iPhones (and other phones) for years, so they can be used where such things are not allowed (in business or government).  

 

On the CACI website, they write that they "neuter iPads, for example, by physically removing any components that elicit communications, signals, or detectable energy-based output. "   Sounds like they make them TEMPEST safe.

 

For really secure devices, the government tends toward OSes with source code they can review and/or modify.  That's why Android is a top choice in that area.   For example, last year at this time, NSA released their own security-hardened version, called SE Android.   Supposedly, Apple refuses to share their OS code, although this might change under Cook.

post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

So they can play Angry Birds - Classified Edition.
Zero Dark Piggy
post #15 of 34
They probably covered the cameras with duct tape.
post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

They'll still figure out how to use them to view porn.[/quote
Since we are on this subject download a VPN app preferably a paid one and you are ready to go.

No need to figure out as simple as abc.
post #17 of 34
This interview sounds like it was done in a bar after too many drinks.
post #18 of 34
You can disable the cameras using configuration profiles, why bother hacking the hardware?
post #19 of 34
I have heard from a well connected source that they are working on one for the navy....
...
wait for it...

It's going to be called the aye-iPad!!!!

1wink.gif
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinneal View Post

You can disable the cameras using configuration profiles, why bother hacking the hardware?

Because the government doesn't generally allow software solutions to problems like that. They assume the worst case that the software can be hacked to re-enable the camera. If you remove the camera, the risk is eliminated.

As to the warranty issue, there are a couple of solutions:

1. The cameras can be removed and stored. If there's a problem, they can replace the camera and still get warranty service (unless they damaged it).

2. Or perhaps they've calculated the risk of failure and simply added a percentage to the government price that's sufficient to allow THEM to replace the defective ones without going through Apple's warranty service.

3. They keep a small stock of spares. If one breaks, they fix it themselves, reinstall the camera, and sell it on eBay. There are service centers that repair iPads and iPhones reasonably inexpensively, so there's no reason they can't do it.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
post #21 of 34

It's not just the cameras according to the both the AI and original Bloomberg article. They're also "neutering" the wireless capabilities. It's not entirely clear from the article if CACI is working with Apple directly on this or not. The way it's worded seems to imply they are.

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-08/apple-ipads-neutered-for-u-s-government-as-caci-targets-mobile.html

melior diabolus quem scies
Reply
melior diabolus quem scies
Reply
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

Supposedly, Apple refuses to share their OS code, although this might change under Cook.

Why do you think this might change under Cook? Or are you just throwing this possibility out there?
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinneal View Post

You can disable the cameras using configuration profiles, why bother hacking the hardware?

 

Because that which is done by software can be undone by software. Or rather by wiping it. 

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Because the government doesn't generally allow software solutions to problems like that. They assume the worst case that the software can be hacked to re-enable the camera. If you remove the camera, the risk is eliminated.

As to the warranty issue, there are a couple of solutions:

1. The cameras can be removed and stored. If there's a problem, they can replace the camera and still get warranty service (unless they damaged it).

2. Or perhaps they've calculated the risk of failure and simply added a percentage to the government price that's sufficient to allow THEM to replace the defective ones without going through Apple's warranty service.

3. They keep a small stock of spares. If one breaks, they fix it themselves, reinstall the camera, and sell it on eBay. There are service centers that repair iPads and iPhones reasonably inexpensively, so there's no reason they can't do it.

 

1. Nope. Read the terms. It's pretty clear that once someone cracks the iPad case without approval it's game over.

 

3. No way would data security protocols allow anything that might have info on it to be resold. Shredd it, melt it etc.but not resellit. Not it there is even a one in a zillion chance someone could pull anything off the drives etc

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

Supposedly, Apple refuses to share their OS code, although this might change under Cook.

 

Highly unlikely. Their code is basically all they have going for them. Lose exclusivity to it and they might as well close the doors. Samsung etc would be able to clone their design AND software and iPad, etc would become generic terms for tablets, smartphones and so on.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #26 of 34
Great opportunity for a company to get ridiculous profit from government since the devices would no longer be supported by the manufacturer... And how would these devices be useful without wireless communication? They're loaded up with documents and custom software for single purpose use?
post #27 of 34

From the Urban Dictionary:

 

Unpossible - Even more impossible than impossible. Quite possibly the most impossiblest thing in the world.

post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

1. Nope. Read the terms. It's pretty clear that once someone cracks the iPad case without approval it's game over.

3. No way would data security protocols allow anything that might have info on it to be resold. Shredd it, melt it etc.but not resellit. Not it there is even a one in a zillion chance someone could pull anything off the drives etc

1 isn't necessarily a problem - if the contractor gets themselves approved as an Apple authorized repair facility.

3 is a valid issue. It depends on whether they actually load confidential information on the devices or not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dysamoria View Post

Great opportunity for a company to get ridiculous profit from government since the devices would no longer be supported by the manufacturer... And how would these devices be useful without wireless communication? They're loaded up with documents and custom software for single purpose use?

That's the whole point. They will be single purpose machines.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post


On the CACI website, they write that they "neuter iPads, for example, by physically removing any components that elicit communications, signals, or detectable energy-based output. "   Sounds like they make them TEMPEST safe.

Doubt it - making something TEMPEST safe takes a lot more work than removing the wifi and bluetooth chips. It takes shielding the remaining components, I imagine by the time you're done it wouldn't look remotely like an iPad anymore.

This is just for facilities with no-camera or no-wifi rules.
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

 

Highly unlikely. Their code is basically all they have going for them. Lose exclusivity to it and they might as well close the doors. Samsung etc would be able to clone their design AND software and iPad, etc would become generic terms for tablets, smartphones and so on.

Samsung reps have already been given iOS code. Apple turned if over by order of an Australian Court in 2011. They may have to do so again with the most recent version if a Korean Court makes the same order. No legitimate international company would copy Apple's code for their own product.

 

That wouldn't rule out the Chinese of course. They copy everyone. 

melior diabolus quem scies
Reply
melior diabolus quem scies
Reply
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluefish86 View Post


Doubt it - making something TEMPEST safe takes a lot more work than removing the wifi and bluetooth chips. It takes shielding the remaining components, I imagine by the time you're done it wouldn't look remotely like an iPad anymore.

This is just for facilities with no-camera or no-wifi rules.

 

Yes, I agree.   I had to run before finishing another sentence where I wondered about that odd claim that they remove any parts with "detectable energy-based output" .  Doesn't make any sense.  They'd have to shield or remove the CPU, LCD and touchscreen.  Unless perhaps they just have a very high limit for "detectable"  ;-)

post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Samsung reps have already been given iOS code. Apple turned if over by order of an Australian Court in 2011. They may have to do so again with the most recent version if a Korean Court makes the same order. No legitimate international company would copy Apple's code for their own product.

That wouldn't rule out the Chinese of course. They copy everyone. 

Really? So Samsung just accidentally ended up with a tablet that looks so much like Apple's that their own attorneys can't tell the difference. No, a Korean company would never copy anything.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

And rendered them all warranty less via third party modification. If they did them literally themselves

What's more logical is that this company work as a middle man to arrange for Apple to build a guaranteed amount of units that just don't have cameras etc installed.

Agreed, that would make more sense. This would be so awesome, too. I'm in the Navy, and having iPads on the ship available for official work would be super cool and convenient! Some people carry them around now, but they aren't allowed to bring them into secured spaces.
15" 2.3 GHz i7, 8 GB RAM, Unibody Macbook Pro
iPhone 4 (Black, 32 GB) [SoftBank, Japan] Please give us Docomo!
iPad 3 (Wifi, 64 GB)
Reply
15" 2.3 GHz i7, 8 GB RAM, Unibody Macbook Pro
iPhone 4 (Black, 32 GB) [SoftBank, Japan] Please give us Docomo!
iPad 3 (Wifi, 64 GB)
Reply
post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluefish86 View Post


Doubt it - making something TEMPEST safe takes a lot more work than removing the wifi and bluetooth chips. It takes shielding the remaining components, I imagine by the time you're done it wouldn't look remotely like an iPad anymore.

This is just for facilities with no-camera or no-wifi rules.

Depends on if you want TEMPEST 1 or 2; the latter permits the use of FCC Class B certified equipment if secure installation guidelines are followed.

 

Cheers

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPad
  • Federal contractor alters 'thousands' of iPads for secure government use
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPad › Federal contractor alters 'thousands' of iPads for secure government use