The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International recently announced a partnership to ensure security and interoperability of mobile applications used by the public safety community.
S&T’s Cyber Security Division (CSD) and First Responders Group (FRG) are leading efforts to secure mobile applications across the federal government and now will work with APCO to build upon their own work and that of APCO to identify security requirements for public safety users and educate mobile app developers.
“This effort is a high priority for S&T,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers. “We are pleased to partner with APCO to ensure the security and quality of the mobile apps used by the public safety community as part of its mission to protect the homeland.”
The S&T-APCO collaboration aims to safeguard mobile applications for public safety users, facilitate interoperability and provide developers and the public safety community with the resources to improve mobile applications.
Through this partnership, S&T will provide the funding and technical support APCO will use to refine an evaluation program that ensures interoperability, reliability, and security for public safety applications used by the general public, as well as state and local agencies. This effort will include collaboration with public safety professionals, application developers, and security experts through workshops, direct consultation, and stakeholder events.
“FRG is committed to providing the first responder community with the tools and technologies they need. Since first responders rely on mobile applications to assist with logistics and collaboration in emergency response, we want to make sure the security is up to par for their use,” said First Responders Group Office for Interoperability and Compatibility Director John Merrill.
APCO International provides more than 200 mobile applications for iOS and Android devices through its online mobile application store and will also be expanding its efforts by working with Kryptowire. S&T began funding Kryptowire, a Northern Virginia-based small business, last year to evaluate and secure mobile applications for the first responder community. APCO will work with Kryptowire to apply its app testing platform to the public safety apps offered on AppComm, a repository of public safety and emergency response apps created and managed by APCO.
“The threat to mobile applications and the functionality they provide to emergency services personnel and the general public is increasing. Our priority through this CSD-FRG-APCO cooperative partnership is to ensure the mobile apps first responders are using are fully vetted, secure and operable across multiple public-safety agencies,” said CSD Program Manager Vincent Sritapan.
Through this new partnership, S&T is continuing its efforts to improve the security of technology used by the public safety community through continuous security evaluation and quality assurance for public safety mobile applications.