Security has been BlackBerry’s forte since its inception in 1984. It is also one of the key reasons for the company’s success, and CEO John Chen is determined to uphold its status of “the most secure mobile OS.” More emphasis has been laid on this aspect keeping in view the whole Edward Snowden news story.
Taking forward the whole “work phone” tag is Project Ion, described on the website as “a series of initiatives from BlackBerry that will enable customers to realize their vision for the Internet of Things and transform the customer experience,” was introduced in May 2014. Designed primarily for companies, the cloud service aims to enable them to participate in the IoT, without necessarily compromising on their privacy and security.
Following the announcement of Project Ion came BBM Protected, an extra security feature that makes your private BBMs even more private. This was a step taken to prepare existing BlackBerry-friendly companies – and perhaps invite a few more – for the upcoming Project Ion. BBM, which has recently, finally accomplished its mission of going cross platform, and whose popularity hasn’t wavered even a little, continues to be the messenger of choice for most leading corporate firms. This is essentially a focal point for the company to build on – hence the introduction of these projects.
The end of July brought with it the next step for this particular endeavour – the acquisition of Secusmart GmbH, a privately-held German company specializing in voice and data encryption. This was yet another significant step in improvising and building on the security our dear BlackBerry provides its consumers with.
Later this year, the security of BES will be extended to BBM users on Android and iOS devices, with the introduction of BES 12, a revamped version of the existing BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The DISA approval granted to BlackBerry (to “manage and secure devices powered by Android and iOS”) was more significant progress in extending the secure environment of BES to users on other platforms.
The Indian Government, representative of one of BlackBerry’s largest markets, was granted access to BIS servers in order to combat the rising terrorism in the country by monitoring exchange of data over these servers, and messages sent over BBM. They were, however, denied access to BES because, as stated by the company itself, it is impossible to do so, given the virtually impenetrable security structure of these servers.
It is not news to us how Mr Snowden’s spectacular revelations about German Chancellor Angela Merkel being a victim of NSA spying resulted in the latter dumping her iPhone and making the switch to BlackBerry 10, along with the rest of her government officials. Secusmart was Merkel’s weapon of choice in this battle of security. Further information revealed that India was #5 on the list of the NSA’s victims, leaving countries like China, Russia, Brazil, and South Africa on lower ranks. India’s current ruling party, the BJP, was #2 on the list of non-American political parties being spied on. The previous party in power, the Congress, was forgiving enough not to make a hue and cry of the NSA’s actions, but current PM Narendra Modi, leader of the BJP, will probably not be as merciful – he was, after all, denied a US visa after being blamed for communal riots that took place in the country a few years ago.
Modi could follow in the footsteps of Ms Merkel, and in those of the government of Canada, and make BlackBerry part of his arsenal in his vision to defend and protect matters that concern him and his country, confidential or otherwise. Secusmart could be of great value to this leader, and many others like him – those striving to protect their nations from foreign interference.