In another blow to the BlackBerry brand, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has decided to end its contract with BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM). Instead, the agency will buy iPhones for more than 17,600 employees, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Security and manageability were key concerns for the agency, as noted in a document it released that said BlackBerry “can no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency.”
The document also said, “The iPhone services will allow [agency personnel] to leverage reliable, mobile technology on a secure and manageable platform in furtherance of the agency’s mission.”
ICE examined Android devices as well as the iPhone but settled on Apple’s solution. Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, has a reputation for being more secure than Android because apps are screened through the iTunes app store and installation of apps from other sources is not enabled.
In fact, two new reports highlighted Android security threats today. One report, from antivirus company Trend Micro, said that malicious applications targeting Android had multiplied six times between Q2 and Q3 2012. The largest jump happened between July and August, when the count of malicious apps jumped from 41,000 to 156,000.
Trend Micro’s report singled out adware, or software that displays advertisements. It said that 25 percent of adware is “aggressive” in the way it collects user information.
The other report focused on apps “leaking” sensitive information. That data, like passwords and banking information, is protected by encryption, but researchers from Philipps University and Leibniz University in Germany were able to intercept the transmission of that data and decode it. They concluded that about 8 percent of the 13,500 Android apps they examined were vulnerable.
The end of the BlackBerry contract with ICE still leaves RIM with a million government customers, the company said. One of those customers, famously, is the president himself. No indication was given that the president would be switching phones anytime soon.
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