Internet of Things

DOD risks 'rogue' apps under current IoT policy

Shutterstock image: illuminated connections between devices. 

The Department of Defense must address some key security risks in its policies and guidance for Internet of Things devices, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The report notes that although DOD has identified the many IoT-related security risks and developed policies and threat scenarios, current rules do not adequately address these challenges. The report recommends updates in certain areas to keep DOD information secure from threats posed by IoT devices.

The IoT risks previously identified by DOD are categorized into "operational risks," which come with using and operating a device, and "device risks," which come with the device itself. "Rogue" mobile applications used for malicious purposes and devices that can geotag are considered "operational," while issues such as unpatched software, limited encryption and supply chain threats represent "device" risks.

While DOD has already identified the risks and has provided guidance for many portable connected devices, , the report concludes, "GAO found that these policies and guidance do not clearly address some security risks relating to IoT devices." 

For one thing, DOD currently lacks updated policies and guidance for certain IoT devices that it has acquired. Smart televisions and mobile applications, for example, present security risks that still need to be addressed, according to GAO. Additionally, the report observes that current policies and guidance on a host of security issues from cybersecurity, information security to physical security fail to take IoT devices into account. The report also notes there is no single DOD office for IoT security. Rather, the responsibility is shared among different organizations in the department.

In reply comments, acting DOD CIO John Zangardi indicated that an ongoing review of the relevant policies will be finished by the end of the current fiscal year.

About the Author

Ben Berliner is an editorial fellow at FCW. He is a 2017 graduate of Kenyon College, and has interned at the Center for Responsive Politics and at Sunlight Foundation.

He can be contacted at

Click here for previous articles by Berliner.


  • Congress
    U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock)

    Funding bill clears Congress, heads for president's desk

    The $1.3 trillion spending package passed the House of Representatives on March 22 and the Senate in the early hours of March 23. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, securing government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

  • 2018 Fed 100

    The 2018 Federal 100

    This year's Fed 100 winners show just how much committed and talented individuals can accomplish in federal IT. Read their profiles to learn more!

  • Census
    How tech can save money for 2020 census

    Trump campaign taps census question as a fund-raising tool

    A fundraising email for the Trump-Pence reelection campaign is trying to get supporters behind a controversial change to the census -- asking respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.