The General Services Administration is trying to get a handle on the threats use of mobile devices pose for federal agencies through a survey and request for information issued to industry.
Per the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 passed in December, the Department of Homeland Security is charged with preparing a full-scale analysis of the mobile threat landscape and is tapping GSA for help with market research for the report.
GSA released the RFI and survey on July 7, asking for vendors and private sector cybersecurity and mobility experts to weigh in on the unique challenges to securing mobile devices and the latest technologies and best practices around mobile device management.
"Mobile devices and the broader mobile ecosystem share many of the same security threats associated with traditional desktop and laptop computers," according to the RFI. "Additionally, the impact of many of these threats can be magnified — and new threats are introduced — by the unique attributes of mobile devices."
The RFI cites the inherent portability of mobile devices; the fact that they are left in on, active states most of the time; are constantly connected to local and global networks; and have recording capabilities like microphones and cameras.
The survey asks for details on products and capabilities in five areas: applications; operating systems, firmware and software; physical threats — like a lost or stolen device; networks; and mobile enterprise.
The responses will be used to create a threat matrix cross-referencing potential attack vectors with the solutions and best practices for defending against them.
"Responses will be used for the congressionally required study and will help the government understand the range of products and technologies available to protect the mobile ecosystem," according to the RFI. "It will also help the government to identify gaps — areas that provide opportunities for industry, government and academic researchers to collaborate on advancing technologies and/or standards."
Responses are due by 5 p.m. on Aug. 22.
GSA will also be holding two industry days to get the conversation started. The first will be held at GSA headquarters in Washington, D.C. on July 20. The second will be in Menlo Park, California on Aug. 2. Registration details are included in the RFI.