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NSA Works on Securing Mobile Devices, Cloud Computing

Deborah Plunkett, NSA; Photo: NSA.gov

The National Security Agency is developing ways to secure Top Secret information on commercial mobile infrastructure found on such everyday devices as smartphones and tablet computers.

Debora Plunkett, director of NSA’s Information Assurance Directorate, told Nextgov in an interview that finding ways to use and secure sensitive information on mobile devices was a top priority for the super-secret spy agency.

NSA is currently mulling commercial handsets equipped to handle data in the same fashion as an e-reader or an advanced satellite-tracking GPS device, she said. The agency will continue to test throughout the summer.

But beyond that, Plunkett said the agency has its head firmly planted in the clouds, so to speak. She characterized cloud computing as the “IT architecture of the future,” echoing remarks made by NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, who also heads up U.S. Cyber Command.

In congressional testimony a few weeks ago, Alexander said cloud computing, perhaps counterintuitively, would help reduce security risks because of its “tighter control over access” and  more “rapid responses” to incidents.

And Plunkett is no less of a cloud enthusiast. “I firmly believe that cloud computing is the way to go,” she told Nextgov.

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