The recent NSA revelations from former analyst Edward Snowden has spurred further leaks. Some of the leaked documents are hitting close to home.

BlackBerry has been caught up in the hoopla due to reports showing the NSA was able to intercept emails sent from BlackBerry devices.

It was often thought that BlackBerry encryption was impenetrable. However, BlackBerry’s encryption was allegedly compromised in 2010.

The NSA reportedly employs a special “BlackBerry Working Group” whose sole purpose is working on cracking the latest from BlackBerry. In cooperation with UK’s GCHQ, the agency was able to crack BlackBerry encryption for the first time.

“Champagne!” the analysts remarked, patting themselves on the back claims the internal document. In the previous year, NSA specialists noted that they could “see and read” text messages sent from BlackBerrys, and could also “collect and process BIS mails.”


BIS, short for BlackBerry Internet Service only employed data compression and not the encryption like its corporate counterpart BES. Although, the NSA reportedly were still able to intercept and process BES communications.

The presentation notes that the acquisition of encrypted BES communications requires a “sustained” operation by the NSA’s Tailored Access Operation department in order to “fully prosecute your target.”

However, it didn’t end with only emails. The NSA had apparently been able to tap voice calls on either GSM or CDMA networks. If the news of such breaches of BlackBerry’s long touted security comes to be true, it could have some far-reaching negative consequences.

Reaching out to BlackBerry on the matter, they supplied us with the following official statement, which only addresses no back-door willingly given and not the possibility that the company’s encryption has been compromised:

“It is not for us to comment on media reports regarding alleged government surveillance of telecommunications traffic. However, we remain confident in the superiority of BlackBerry’s mobile security platform for customers using our integrated device and enterprise server technology. Our public statements and principles have long underscored that there is no ‘back door’ pipeline to our platform. Our customers can rest assured that BlackBerry mobile security remains the best available solution to protect their mobile communications.”

via Spiegel