Is that end-users are left-out cold without any form of privacy control.
As cool as MDM is to the "enterprise" developer and from a hacker's
perspective, there's nothing attractive with this to the end-user. How
can the end-user be certain that his store-bought KNOX enabled device,
hasn't already been compromised by some "enterprise"?
Without fully transparent, open source and public KNOX documentation,
this will be practically impossible to answer. As far as we know from
recent past experiences, on how "curious" enterprises like Google,
Samsung and NSA have been, why should we trust them this time? Or what
about the mobile service providers themselves? We know from many recent
examples how companies like Verizon and AT&T have been spying on their
What follows is a few enlightening excerpts from the latest KNOX
white-paper. Before reading this and having recent major KNOX related
developer issues, I have gone from a "KNOX-who-cares" person, to a vivid
Anti-KNOX-er! I will most likely stay that way, at least until our
devices are sold without KNOX, and only available as a voluntary device
add-on/feature, using open source as it's basis.
What about you? Would you be happy to walk around the streets with a
laptop that has a remote access tool that constantly tracks your every
move, picture, sound and friends you meet and call, all while not
informing of any of that? While being way beyond you control? In fact,
you will not even have any choice, if Godzilla and Samsung gets their
way, in the next year.
AttestationIn a nutshell, this is legalized control and spying.
Attestation offers verification of a mobile device's core system
software i.e, the boot loaders and the kernel, at runtime based on the
measurement data collected during trusted boot. Attestation can be
requested at any time by the enterprise's Mobile Device Management (MDM)
system. All security critical operations of attestation are performed in
When requested, the Attestation feature reads the previously stored
measurement information and the fuse value (see Trusted Boot above) and
combines these data to produce an Attestation "verdict". This verdict,
which essentially an indicate for whether tampering has occured, is
simply returned to the requesting MDM. The Attestation result is
returned to the requesting MDM server with a signature based on the
device's unique "Attestation Certificate" that is configured in the
device during the manufacturing process. This ensures that the
Attestation verdict cannot be altered during transfer.
Any further action is determined by the enterprise's MDM security
policy. It might choose to detach from the device, erase the contents of
the secure application container, ask for the location of the device, or
any of many other possible security recovery procedures.
The KNOX Container
The enterprise can manage the container like any other IT asset using an
MDM solution. Samsung KNOX supports many of the leading MDM solutions on
the market. Container management is affected by setting policies in the
same fashion as those traditional MDM policies. Samsung KNOX Container
includes a rich set of policies for authentication, data security, VPN,
email, application blacklisting, whitelisting, etc.
The new container also allows enterprise IT administrators to control
the flow of information between the container and the rest of the
device. This allows enterprises to strike the right balance between
security and user productivity. Users can also control the data sharing
capability based on their personal preferences, within the limits
specified by the enterprise IT administrator.
Mobile Device Management (MDM)
Enrolling an Android device into a company’s MDM system typically begins
with the user downloading the agent application from the Google Play
store and then configuring it for work. Enterprises are facing
increasing help desk calls as more and more users are activating mobile
devices for work and run into issues during this process. In addition
the user is presented with prompts, privacy policies and license
agreements at various stages resulting in a poor overall experience.
The KNOX platform provides a unified enrollment solution that is simple
and intuitive, and eliminates many steps in the enrollment process.
The process begins with the employee navigating to a web page and
clicking on an enrollment link. The link to the original web page may be
provided to the employee via an e-mail or SMS, or via the company’s
internal or external website. Clicking on the enrollment link brings up
a screen that prompts for the user’s corporate email address. The device
then displays all notices for the user to accept, which include privacy
policies and agreements from Samsung, the MDM vendor and the enterprise.
Upon accepting the terms, the user is directed to a screen to enter the
password for the corporate account. If authentication is successful the
enrollment is complete. Any agent application required by the MDM server
is automatically downloaded and installed, without user intervention.
MDM vendors can take advantage of this feature and simplify the
onboarding process for enterprise users and significantly improve the
user experience and reduce support costs.