NIST taking input for mobile security guidelines

A new NIST publication aims to alert enterprises of potential security dangers within commercial apps

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is developing a guide for testing third-party apps to ensure that they are secure and don't introduce any vulnerabilities.

The government agency has prepared a draft of its recommendations, "Technical Considerations for Vetting 3rd Party Mobile Applications," and is seeking industry feedback by Sept. 18. The aim is to help enterprises make full use of commercial mobile programs.

"Agencies and organizations need to know what a mobile app really does and to be aware of its potential privacy and security impact so they can mitigate any potential risks," said NIST computer scientist Tom Karygiannis in a statement announcing the release of the draft.

The draft publication "describes tests that allow software security analysts to discover and understand vulnerabilities and behaviors before the app is approved for use," Karygiannis said.

The document, once finished, will give organizations a guide for testing third-party apps that they may want to use for official business. It will also detail the different types of vulnerabilities commonly found on Android and Apple iOS devices.

Many of today's mobile apps, such as calendars, require access rights to various parts of the device's OS. Granting permissions to these apps, however, can introduce security vulnerabilities to a secured system. For instance, giving a collaboration app access to a contact list could inadvertently reveal names on the list that should remain private.

Mobile devices can also gather a lot of data unbeknownst to the owner of the device. Malware, for instance, could be surreptitiously installed to record phone conversations, or users could be secretly tracked through the phone's GPS functionality.

In addition to offering techniques for testing and vetting apps, the publication will also provide descriptions of undesirable behavior, how to manage an app through its entire life cycle, and examples of how vulnerabilities could lead to system compromises.

Beyond security, the publication will also detail how to manage the power that apps can consume on a device.

An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST works with industry to develop standards and technologies to encourage innovation, advance U.S. economic competitiveness and improve the quality of life.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securitymobile securityU.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?