The establishment of a nationwide public safety broadband network will equip public safety practitioners with access to more data and resources than ever before. Some of these new resources will take the form of mobile applications running on Long Term Evolution (LTE) devices. These applications will have unique security requirements, which will set them apart from commercial mobile applications. In order to leverage the fast-paced and innovative mobile application developer ecosystem, the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program is conducting research into identifying and enumerating these security requirements. These requirements can be provided to both application developers for consideration during application design and public safety officials when selecting applications for deployment.
The nationwide public safety broadband network will provide first responders with modern access to data. This new access to multimedia (audio/video), situational awareness data, and operations functionality will enhance first responder’s effectiveness and efficiency. While mobile applications can offer critical capabilities, verification of the security posture of the applications is a necessity. Analysis from the IT security industry shows that attacks on mobile devices will increase dramatically over the next decade and that mobile applications will be a primary attack vector. Furthermore, without prior knowledge of public safety domain specific requirements, application developers may unintentionally introduce malicious behavior into the public safety network.
PSCR’s strategy concerning public safety mobile application security utilizes the following three-pronged approach:
PSCR is providing the public safety community with methods to ensure mobile applications operate in a secure manner. By engaging public safety officials, federal partners, and mobile application developers, the public safety community stands to maximize these benefits.