BlackBerry 10 awarded US security clearance

RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system has received FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) 140-2 certification, the mobile-maker announced on Thursday.

In a statement, RIM said the certification will enable government agencies to deploy BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, its new mobile enterprise management solution, from the day of launch.

FIPS 140 is issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a department of the US government that develops IT security standards using cryptographic techniques.

The security standard was developed through the Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP), which certifies products for use by US government agencies and regulated industries that collect, store, transfer, share and disseminate sensitive information, RIM said.

BlackBerry 10, which is due to be launched in the first quarter of next year, is the first time a BlackBerry product has been FIPS-certified ahead of launch, the company said.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company will be hoping that the certification will convince US government agencies to return to using the platform.

Last month, news agency Reuters reported that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), which had equipped its employees with RIM products for eight years, was switching from BlackBerrys to iPhones because the Canadian company “can no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency”.

RIM’s BlackBerry products have also fallen in popularity with consumers. In August, analyst firm IDC said BlackBerry’s market share had dropped from 9.5% to 4.3% during the third quarter, a year-on-year decline of 34.7%.

“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 Michael K Brown, vice president of security product management and research at RIM.

“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,” Brown said.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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