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RIM secures BlackBerry 10 US government security clearance

08 Nov 2012
BlackBerry 10 Active Frames

The BlackBerry 10 platform (BB10) has received US government security clearance, winning the hallowed FIPS 140-2 certification ahead of its 2013 launch.

RIM confirmed its BB10 mobile operating system had received the FIPS 140-2 certification from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (Nist) on Thursday.

The FIPS 140-2 certification means means that US government agencies will be allowed to operate BB10 devices and RIM's new enterprise management platform that governs them, when both launch next year.

Despite its US success, BB10 is yet to receive certification from the UK's equivalent Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG). This means BB10 has yet to be approved for official government use in Britain.

RIM has boasts that it is the first time any of its BlackBerry products have been FIPS certified prior to launch, claiming it will help re-establish the company's core enterprise market base.

"Achieving FIPS 140-2 certification means that BlackBerry 10 is ready to meet the strict security requirements of government agencies and enterprises at launch," said vice president of security product management and research at RIM, Michael Brown.

"What differentiates BlackBerry is that it integrates end-to-end security, and includes certified encryption algorithms for data at rest and data in transit. No other mobile solution has achieved the level of security accreditation that the BlackBerry solution has."

RIM has increasingly seen its share of the business smartphone market decline due to the growing popularity in the workplace of more consumer-focused handsets, like the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3, as opposed to the more secure traditional BlackBerry devices.

Despite taking a beating from this bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, RIM's senior director of enterprise product management Jeff Holleran claims BB10 will rectify the situation and draw users back to the platform.

"The launch of BB10 will see for the first time the arrival of devices designed and built from the ground up for BYOD," Holleran told V3.

"BlackBerry Balance is there on the device to protect data to a level that can't be matched anywhere else."

Balance is a feature inbuilt into the BB10 that creates separate work and personal areas on the device, with the work environment under the control of the IT department.

This ensures users have free rein over their personal use, but without undermining corporate data security.

For a more thorough look at BB10 and its features check out V3's hands on with BlackBerry 10, and RIM's pitch for BlackBerry 10 to enterprise users.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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