BlackBerry Ltd wants its customers to believe that its phones are very secure, but this might not be the case. Dutch police claim they were able to access a series of encrypted emails on extra-secure PGP BlackBerry smartphones. This raises questions about the Canadian firms claims of security and privacy.
BlackBerry devices not that secure
The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), which performs forensic investigations in criminal cases, claims to have gain access to emails on a BlackBerry phone that has been customized for extra security with PGP encryption. A press officer with NFI, Tuscha Essed, told Motherboard that they could obtain encrypted data from BlackBerry PGP devices.
Pretty Good Privacy or PGP is a program that bolsters a device’s security. It offers features like encryption and decryption giving users an extra layer of security for their emails, files, and texts. This is the reason PGP BlackBerry phones are deemed more secure, and are sold by many online vendors. In most of the cases, the PGP encryption on BlackBerry phones are used for emails.
NFI has not disclosed the method it uses for getting access on an encrypted phone. However, the publication claims it is a forensics program developed by a private firm – CelleBrite.
People who bought a custom BlackBerry Ltd phone because of its security capabilities have just one ray of hope towards the safety of their data, which is the device can only be hacked if the hacker has his hands on the device and not otherwise. It cannot be said for sure that only Dutch cops have access to this secure device. There are good chances that other agencies too might be aware of these tricks.
No compromise on security
Talking of security, BlackBerry Ltd got a huge win last week, when the Pakistani govt. rescinded an order to shut down the Canadian firms operation in the country. The firm decided to exit the country after it refused to comply with the govt’s demand of allowing it backdoor access to user data.
Citing security reasons, the govt. issued the shutdown order in July 2015, and on November 30, the Canadian firm made an announcement regarding its withdrawal from the country. Citing reasons, the firm said it was not ready to make a compromise by allowing the govt. an access to BES emails and BBM chats.
Ina blog post last week, the firm said that Pakistani authorities capitulated to BlackBerry’s resistance. “We are grateful to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the Pakistani government for accepting BlackBerry’s position that we cannot provide the content of our customers’ BES traffic, nor will we provide access to our BES servers,” the firm said.
At 10.19 am EST, BlackBerry shares were up 3.79% at $7.80. Year to date, the stock is down over 16% while in the last one-month, it is up almost 2%. The stock has a 52-week high of $12.63 and a 52-week low of $5.96.