BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) Security Backdoor Exposed?

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The integrity of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s encryption system for consumer data has been called to question. Court documents relating to a crime syndicate show that Canadian police accessed BlackBerry’s master encryption keys used to secure consumer data. But it is far from clear at this juncture whether the company willfully turned over the keys to the authorities or was compelled to do so or whether the law enforcement agency found its own way to obtain the master keys.

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) doesn’t disclose how many data requests it receives from governments. Tech companies such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) do so in what has come to be known as transparency reporting.

BlackBerry assisted the break-in

It is not exactly clear how the interception of BlackBerry’s secure messaging system happened, but the court documents leave no doubt that the company facilitated police access to its platform. The documents show that BlackBerry and wireless network operator Rogers cooperated with the police in the investigations.

Nevertheless, as to whether BlackBerry gave police access to its master keys or the police used a third-party to break into BlackBerry’s messaging system remains unknown because the court documents are redacted.

When it happened

It is said that the Canadian police had BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s master encryption keys between 2010 and 2012. The police may have accessed more than a million messages during the period they had the keys. The decryption of BlackBerry’s messaging system happed at a time when the company still held a sizable share of the smartphone market.

Enterprise untouched

It seems the target was limited to BlackBerry’s consumer messages because the court documents don’t give a hint that enterprise messaging systems were also penetrated. BlackBerry doesn’t have access to the individual servers used by its enterprise customers and that means that the police would not have come to it to open the systems.

Impact on reputation

Device security is a major selling point for BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) in the smartphone market. Therefore, if its system can be seen to be vulnerable to government surveillance, the company could lose a key competitive advantage.

Neha Gupta

Neha Gupta has been in the financial space for over six years now. Gupta earned her MBA degree from Symbiosis Centre of Distance Learning in 2009 and her passion for finance led her to pursue Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) course. She has successfully completed Level II of her CFA. She is a veteran in article writing, which is depicted in her numerous pieces published on SeekingAlpha, Nextiphonenews, InsiderMonkey, MarketWatch, and Techinsider. Her crisp and eloquent writing finds its best place in Researchcows, where emphasis is given on developing rich content for various websites, products, business plans, trainings, and book writing.

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  • Reverend Grim.

    Why doesn’t anyone do any research these days?
    This is about OLD BBOS Legacy devices and even then, only PIN to PIN messages! Even then, if both users had deleted the conversation there is nothing to see!
    Honestly, every website that is running this story have the audacity to call themselves reporters… you need to learn to read things!

    • Isn’t it funny how quick these guys jump at a potential story instead of doing their homework and writing about facts…

      • DEVVVV

        HBB notice how my statement of “all platforms somewhat possess the same security features is correct? I hope you realise now that I don’t lie about things. I am considering filing criminal charges to have Chen removed before BlackBerry is completely ran into the ground.

        • You’re correct, in some way. The competitors are competing with BBRY’s security from 5-10 years ago, as was the case here.

          • DEVVVV

            HBB, I now have someone inside BlackBerry, not sure if he is a exec or a lead hand, but is working with the technology dept, attempting to convince BlackBerry that their is no harm investigating the possibility Devvvv might perhaps have something of value. Part of my terms and conditions is while I work for BlackBerry for the three month probation period is, Chen being on a three month vacation. If you happen to hear a announcement of BlackBerry straying from protocol pertaining to allowing Devvvv a executive lead hand position as a probation status as a last ditch effort to save themselves. It would be a indicator to buy as much stock as you can. IF BlackBerry hires me I know I will be buying $100k worth.

          • lol, another one of your lies.

          • DEVVVV

            nope not a lie HBB (:

          • lol, it’s always a lie with you. It’s an obsessive behavior that you have.

          • Pjews

            What you write is probably the biggest lie ever written.

  • bambinoitaliano

    Journalistic integrity no longer exist. It’s cut and paste. As long as they get the click for ad revenue.

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