November 8, 2012
RIM Reveals Security Clearance For BlackBerry 10
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
RIM has been behind their rivals for years and now, and they´re just trying to stop the bleeding. Months before their latest "Hail Mary" of an operating system is expected to be released, the Canadian smartphone maker has been forced to announce some details in order to try and keep some of their most important customers on board.According to Michael Brown, vice president of security product management at RIM, BlackBerry 10 (BB10) will be the most secure OS yet, meeting the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS).
This certification is important, as it allows US government agencies to use the new BlackBerry out of the box. It´s likely RIM hopes these agencies will also place a large order for these new BlackBerries once they are released sometime in the first quarter of 2013.
"What differentiates BlackBerry is that it integrates end-to-end security and includes security encryption algorithms for data at rest and data in transit," said Brown in a statement. "No other mobile solution has achieved the level of security accreditation that the BlackBerry solution has."
The road to BlackBerry 10 has not been an easy one. BlackBerry once held the title of THE smartphone for business. They even began to break out into the consumer market, but at a time when Apple and Google were already starting to wow this market with apps and useful features. The BlackBerry still did well in business and corporations for a while until workers began asking if they could bring their Androids and iPhones into work rather than using the chubby, QWERTY-bearing phones.
RIM was losing ground both at home and abroad and needed something big to compete with the full touchscreen phones which had become so popular. BB10 is supposed to be RIM´s answer to these other platforms, but they´ve yet to ship phones with this new software.
While the rest of the world had abandoned RIM, many Governments and agencies stuck with BlackBerry for their Security features. Now these agencies have also begun the switch over to Apple and Android, despite the fact that these phones don´t offer the same security as RIM.
According to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, Apple´s strict control over both hardware and software and their independence from carriers made the iPhone a more attractive choice for their agents.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have also left BlackBerry for iPhone, likely after growing impatient for RIM to make their next move. While these agencies have already made their announcements, it´s likely RIM´s announcement today is meant to stop any other agencies from America, Canada or the UK from abandoning them as well.
David MacFarlane, head of security operations at RIM, also praised their new FIPS certification in a statement to Reuters.
"Achieving FIPS certification for an entirely new platform in a very short period of time, and before launch, is quite remarkable,” he said.
RIM has said they´re already testing out the new BB10 phones on carriers and still say they plan to release the OS in the coming months. Those who might still be waiting for a new BlackBerry have likely had their patience run very thin, and with new advancements coming every few months from other phone makers, it´s left to be seen if they can hang on for another 3 to 5 months.