UK clears Samsung's KNOX smartphones for official communications

LONDON Wed May 14, 2014 12:56pm EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Smartphones running Samsung Electronics' (005930.KS) security software have been cleared for communications marked "official" by the British government, the company said, after they received a lower risk rating than competitors including Blackberry (BB.TO).

The information security arm of Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) identified three significant risks associated with Samsung's KNOX, a platfrom that increases security on top of the underlying Android operating system, according to guidance published on Wednesday.

Blackberry 10.1, in Enterprise Mobility Management Regulated mode, had four significant risks, according to an earlier assessment, while Google's (GOOGL.O) Android 4.3 had 11.

"With this approval we are committed to working more closely with government departments and agencies that need to maintain high levels of security and data confidentiality on their mobile devices," said Graham Long, a VP at Samsung UK and Ireland.

Samsung launched KNOX in 2013 to provide additional security features on top of the Android operating systems, using a range of tools right down to the processor.

(Clarifies description of KNOX in 2nd paragraph)

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Susan Thomas)

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