With many of Silicon Valley’s data overlords running the other way, mobile manufacturer Samsung is cozying up to the NSA. The NSA will now permit Samsung’s Galaxy S5, S4, Note 3, and Note 4 to carry sensitive information as long as they are running Samsung’s Knox operating system, designed for enterprise security. Knox is specifically designed to bolster security, protect against malicious intrusions, and, theoretically, to insulate the NSA from data leaks.
Meanwhile, some earlier Samsung Galaxy devices including the Galaxy S2 and S3 have known vulnerabilities relating to modified carrier software that could allow backdoor access into some remarkably deep levels of their permissions, facilitating hacks like turning on the microphone, remotely pinpointing location via GPS, and activating the camera.
Ironically, Google’s latest version of Android, known as Android L, will ship with NSA-deflecting encryption protocols built right in. While Knox has proven to have some security holes of its own, mobile device makers are racing to fill the void left when RIM’s BlackBerry devices fell from grace in the security conscious enterprise world.