Interior seeks ability to wipe mobile devices of employees abroad

Oleksiy Mark/

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Technology would help the department keep its networks secure.

The Interior Department is considering purchasing a mobile device management product that will allow it to remotely update, manage, monitor, and shut down or wipe employees’ smartphones and tablets even when they are traveling abroad, solicitation documents show.

The product would have to work, at the very least, on Apple, Android, BlackBerry and Windows mobile operating systems and the agency will give preference to cloud-based tools, according to the request for information posted Friday.

Interior “has recognized a real threat to the integrity of electronic devices on international travel by curious individuals, organized crime and nation‐state sponsored activities,” the RFI states.

A device that is compromised abroad could go on to infect other parts of Interior’s systems if an employee uses it to reconnect to department networks, according to the documents.

The RFI was sparked by a 2011 Government Accountability Office study that found the department “has not consistently implemented effective controls to prevent, limit and detect unauthorized access to its systems or manage the configuration of network devices to prevent unauthorized access and ensure system integrity.”

(Image via Oleksiy Mark/