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Blackberry security explained
What kind of access do US authorities get to BlackBerry messages that Saudi, the UAE and India don’t? Is it even possible to monitor encrypted messages?
August 12, 2010 4:54 by Reuters
Research in Motion is at odds with the governments of India, Saudi Arabia and the UAE over their demands that the company let authorities tap BlackBerry messages delivered using RIM’s rock-solid encryption technology.
Here are questions and answers that explain how the BlackBerry system works and why governments consider it to be a potential threat to national security:
Q. How does BlackBerry’s legendary security system work?
A. RIM uses powerful codes to scramble, or encrypt, messages as they travel between a BlackBerry server and the BlackBerry device. If a worker loses their BlackBerry, RIM is able to remotely wipe all messages on the device and deactive it.
Q. Is BlackBerry’s security unique?
A. Yes. All BlackBerry traffic runs through RIM data centers, which help manage the devices. It also runs through BlackBerry servers, which encrypt and unscramble messages.
Those BlackBerry servers are owned and run by RIM’s business and government customers, according to David Goldschlag, chief technology officer of McAfee Mobile, a unit of McAfee Inc. (RIM handles encryption and decryption for smaller businesses and consumers, according to Goldschlag.)
Rivals, including Apple Inc, Google Inc, Nokia and Microsoft Corp, design their products so they communicate directly with ordinary email servers.
Q. Can RIM unscramble the data?
A. RIM says it cannot unscramble data of its large business and government clients because the servers that handle that task are located on the premises of its customers.
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