BlackBerry phones have always had the reputation of being highly secure devices. This is one of the reasons why various heads of governments, NATO, the US Department of Defense, banks, industry leaders and many others for whom secure communications is paramount rely on them. Unfortunately it has also allowed for misuse by others while committing criminal acts.
A case example of this is what happened with the Dalton McGuinty Ontario Provincial government in 2012, when they cancelled a gas deal to build two new plants as part of an election ploy that left the taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in cancellation penalties.
The government had originally signed an agreement to build them several years beforehand, but with an election looming and very strong traction from NDP party candidates who opposed those plants in the Ridings (aka electoral districts in Canada) where they were supposed to be built, the McGuinty government sought the easy way out by cancelling the deal.
Not only did they cancel the deal, but they also deliberately destroyed public records and documents related to it, which cause a huge outcry among the public and media.
One of the things that was interesting about this case was a statement from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Det. Const. Andre Duval, who has issued a search warrant for David Livingston, who was McGuinty’s Chief of Staff. It basically acknowledged the level of secure communications in BlackBerry devices, as he noted that because it went through a BlackBerry, none of the messages could be found.
Source: The Toronto Sun
“I believe that possibly contentious communications were deleted from government servers,” Duval said.
Investigators were also unable to find messages concerning the gas plants because the communications went through the BlackBerry, he said.
OPP documents allege that there are grounds to believe that Livingston committed a criminal “breach of trust” by seeking an administrative password and access to government computers for Faist.
It is indeed an unfortunate issue and I sincerely do hope that the criminals are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But the underlying point here is that BlackBerry devices can be totally relied on for secure communications, even by those involved in wrongdoing.
The other point is that there are companies out there who have dissed BlackBerry devices for several years, but when a crisis occurs, they will reach for their BlackBerry’s. When the September 911 terrorist attacks occurred in New York City, Blackberries worked well for that entire day, while many communication networks were down. During the Sony hack, which brought down their entire communication infrastructure, it was BlackBerry who came to their rescue.
So while, BlackBerry’s market-share in the smartphone market is very small when compared to IOS and Android, it does not mean that the BlackBerry’s are irrelevant or that it does not fulfill an important need, as this cannot be further from the truth. When it comes to secure communications, BlackBerry’s security is second to none, as I noted in the following post last month:
- BlackBerry has over 70 government certifications and approvals
- 16 of the 20 G20 countries are also on BlackBerry
- BlackBerry is the first and only end to end mobile platform awarded full operational capability to run on U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) networks networks
World leaders like US President Barrack Obama places a very high value on his BlackBerry and cannot leave home without it. We saw this a few months ago, when he left his helicopter to rush back into the White House to retrieve his BlackBerry device that he had forgotten. Other world leaders like British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel rely on their BlackBerry devices as well.
So for all those naysayers out there, especially some in the tech media and tech blogs who constantly bleat that BlackBerry as a company is irrelevant, they need to look again and reconsider their viewpoint. Especially those who continue to say “Nobody cares about security”, when challenged about the security breaches that have occurred with their favorite device.
There are those regulated industries for which secure communications are paramount and BlackBerry with its multi-platform BES12 MDM infrastructure and devices are playing a leading role in fulfilling those needs.
In the Inside BlackBerry business blogs, there is an article titled “How BlackBerry Security Begins At The Endpoints“, by Alex Manea. It does touch on how secure BlackBerry devices are. It’s a great read and I would highly recommend it. For the foreseeable future, I do see BlackBerry being at the forefront where security is concerned.
Source: Inside BlackBerry
Hardware Root of Trust is the foundation of BlackBerry security. Every single time any BlackBerry device in the world boots up, it goes through a complex and unique series of checks to confirm the integrity of each component:
- The CPU Embedded Boot ROM verifies the digital signature of the Boot ROM.
- The Boot ROM verifies the signing key of the Operating System.
- The Operating System verifies the hash of the Base File System.
- The Base File System verifies the hashes of all loaded Applications.