Many people have often wondered just how is BlackBerry able to offer world renowned security with smartphones and mobile device management. Often times, ill-informed pundits have clamored the notion of BlackBerry being secure through obscurity. Little do they know it’s quite the opposite.
Most companies solely focus on security through an operating system. Whereas, BlackBerry focuses on the security of the operating system AND the hardware.
BlackBerry has what they call the “Root of Trust.” BlackBerry’s Manager of Security Services, Alex Manea, says to think of it as a very tall building needing a very solid foundation.
“The deeper down the Root of Trust is embedded into the system, the more difficult it is to compromise,” said Manea in a blog post. “BlackBerry signs all of its hardware to ensure device integrity. The keys are injected at manufacturing and verified whenever the devices connect to the BlackBerry network. The keys are also used to verify the software of the device.”
This “Root of Trust” is the foundation of BlackBerry’s security. Whenever any BlackBerry in the entire world boots up it goes through a series of steps to confirm the integrity of the components:
- 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.
Here’s a visual aid:
Additionally, BlackBerry has been the first to offer the ability for users to run Android apps “without compromising user privacy or device security.” This has been accomplished using BlackBerry’s hardware “Root of Trust” and the partnership with TrendMicro for scanning Android APK files for malware.
BlackBerry continues to be a leader in secure mobile devices and mobile management through BES12. BlackBerry’s horizon should only grow larger with its reputation in security as the future in securing the Internet of Things emerges.