The Australian government's peak adviser on information security has given the tick of approval for iPhones and iPads to be used for storing and communicating classified government information.
Acting director of the Defence Signals Directorate Mike Burgess said the department had developed ways to enable devices running the latest Apple operating system, called iOS version 5, to handle secret information up to ''protected'' level.
DSD had worked closely with industry to develop practical instructions for government to securely use the latest technology.
''Embracing new technologies, such as smartphones and tablet PCs, provides government with a genuine opportunity to conduct its business more efficiently,'' he said.
''However, the threat of government information being stolen or compromised is also very real.''
Mr Burgess said DSD worked to help agencies better protect valuable government information, while still enabling them to benefit from the advantages of these devices.
He said iOS5 had passed an evaluation using a stringent and intensive security assessment to ensure it met Australian government information security requirements.
This security evaluation, the first of its kind for iOS5, covers devices owned and managed by Australian government agencies that have implemented specific DSD security advice.
Just how that can be done is spelled out in a detailed security hardening guide available at the DSD website.