Apple gains FIPS 140 level 2 cryptographic compliance for A4, A5 chips as it pushes for government business

Apple gains FIPS 140 level 2 cryptographic compliance for A4, A5 chips as it pushes for government business ...

Over the last couple of years, Apple has been doing well to absorb the government business that BlackBerry has had locked up for years. They’ve moved to qualify their devices for secure operation in various forms and that includes meeting government cryptographic standards.

Earlier this month, Apple was granted its Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) level 2 certificate, and today it published a guide for IT professionals charged with handling crypto duties at a given organization. The certificate states that as of iOS 6 on the iPhone 4, 4S and iPad — devices running Apple’s A4 and A5 chips — the devices have been validated up to ‘level 2’ uses.

According to the definitions provided by Certicom, “IPS 140-2 Validation is required for sale of products implementing cryptography to the Federal Government. If you don’t have FIPS 140-2 Validation for your product, and can’t show that you are going to be obtaining it, you will not be able to access the government market with your products.”

There’s a host of approved crypto algorithms supported by Apple’s certification including Triple-DES, AES, BitGen1,2,3, MD5 and HMAC.

So Apple has no doubt displayed its efforts to work towards this certification, allowing it to enter those markets, and this certification solidifies their continued use in those situations. It’s almost a given that Apple is working towards certifying its newer A6 chip, as found in the iPhone 5, as well.

Apple recently scored a contract worth $30 million to supply iPads to the Los Angeles School District. In late 2012, the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement department moved from BlackBerry to iPhone. And, though FIPS clearance is a US (and Canada) thing, Apple has made inroads elsewhere in the world, recently landing a $159M contract with the New Zealand Police.

Image Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images

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