iPhone 7 To Be Hardened Into A ‘Dual-Persona Device’ For UK Military

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It’s no secret that Apple takes security seriously. The UK Ministry of Defense has selected the iPhone 7 as its device of choice to safeguard the military-level secrets. According to the Tech Republic, British Telecom is working with the Ministry of Defense to harden the security of the iPhone so that military personnel can use it to discuss top-secret matters and store sensitive data locally.

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The hardened iPhone 7 to have ‘secure storage containers’

British Telecom technical business manager for defense, Steve Bunn said the hardened iPhone 7 would be capable of switching between different modes depending on the sensitivity of the voice call. The “dual-persona” device will have two modes: official and secret. The users will be able to adjust the mode depending on the level of sensitivity of the communication.

BT and the Ministry of Defense are also working to create “secure storage containers” on the iPhone 7. According to Apple Insider, it involves “hidden or encrypted files and folders” where sensitive information can be stored for later use. The secure storage containers could also be used to transfer data between different locations without broadcasting it over networks.

Why the MoD selected iPhone 7

Bunn added that BT was originally planning to go ahead with Samsung Galaxy Note 4. But they ditched the Android device for the iPhone 7 when they realized that the Note 4’s security was not sufficient for the job. Trying to remain diplomatic, another BT spokesperson said in a follow-up report that the Galaxy Note 4’s security was not lacking. Contradicting Bunn’s statement, BT said the MoD was still evaluating other devices for dual-persona capabilities.

Another factor that could have played a role in the iPhone 7’s selection is that it was already being widely used within the Ministry of Defense. BT declined to provide further details on the dual-persona device due to security reasons.

iPhone best all-around device

There are several other highly-secure devices used by the military and security agencies around the world. And most of them run the hardened versions of Android. Google’s Android is preferred because vendors can easily customize its open-source code. Boeing’s Black phone, GSMK’s CryptoPhones, Solarin devices, and many others use Android. However, the iPhone is still the best all-around phone.

The top-notch iOS security has forced the US agencies to attempt to weaken its encryption. Following the San Bernardino shootings, the FBI initially could not unlock an iPhone used by the attacker. It sparked a user privacy versus security debate. Despite the government’s attempt to weaken the iOS encryption, privacy advocates have come forward in support of Apple. Last month, the US House Judiciary Committee said in a report that any measure to weaken encryption would work “against the national interest.”

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