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BlackBerry Reassures Customers Over Smartphone Security Fears

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Our handsets are as secure as ever, BlackBerry says

BlackBerry has said that its devices “are secure as they have ever been” following claims that government agencies were able to access encrypted messages on some phones.

The company has said that its customers have nothing to fear after Dutch police said last week that they had decrypted messages on so-called BlackBerry PGP devices, which have been modified by third parties, with the blame directed to insecure third party apps or security precautions.

The evidence gained by the Dutch authorities, which included 279 out of the 325 encrypted messages stored on a BlackBerry device, was then used to help successfully prosecute a suspect in a drugs transport case in the country last month.

‘Secure and private’

child spy“If such an information recovery did happen, access to this information from a Blackberry device could be due to factors unrelated to how the Blackberry device was designed,” the company said in a blog post.

“There are no backdoors in any BlackBerry devices, and BlackBerry does not store and therefore cannot share BlackBerry device passwords with law enforcement or anyone else. In other words, provided that users follow recommended practices, BlackBerry devices remain as secure and private as they have always been.”

BlackBerry has long prided itself on its security provisions, which is one of the factors that has made the platform so popular with celebrities and world leaders such as Barack Obama and Angela Merkel.

Last year, the company made a number of security announcements including the formation of a new research centre and a new public key infrastructure (PKI) for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The company’s criticism of a government-backed agency goes against recent statements made by CEO John Chen regarding other technology firms, specifically Apple, for refusing to work with governments on “lawful access requests”.

Chen also said that the right to privacy should not be extended to criminals, as the debate between pro-privacy advocates and governments had become “acrimonious and polarising” in recent times, especially following reports terrorists are using messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram to carry out their activities.

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