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RIM good for secret jobs: BlackBerry 10 cleared for Restricted data

No backdoor action here, feds reckon

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BlackBerry 10 has passed the US Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) certification, meaning devices based on the platform can be used to send classified data between government agents. Despite a drop in US government uptake of its kit, this is still something unique to RIM.

Apple and Android have both made huge strides in security, but only RIM has ever managed to get a mobile platform through the FIPS 140-2 process, which is managed by National Institute of Standards and Technology and recognised by the US and Canadian governments. The classification permits the transit of documents up to "restricted" level, so RIM's devices will be turning up in some halls of power, if not all of them.

The news isn't hugely surprising. Security has always been core to the BlackBerry platform, rather than something to be added on later, and that's reflected at every level. BlackBerry 7, for example, deliberately overwrites deleted data on memory cards, rather than just flagging it as deleted (and thus permitting recovery) as other platforms so, but that's just one example of the pervasive nature of RIM's secure approach.

But the certification achieves two other important things too: it reminds everyone that BlackBerry is still the most secure mobile platform, and it keeps everyone talking about the new version for another week or two, the latter being particularly important as there's still a few months until the launch and RIM needs to stay in the public eye until then.

Not that all publicity is good: on Wednesday an analysts from Pacific Crest Securities said the new OS might be "dead on arrival", prompting an 8 per cent drop in RIM shares, and some damage limitation from the company.

"Two other analysts came out this week with some very, very positive reactions to the platform and some positive reactions to our prospects," RIM told The Canadian Press, sounding a little like a petulant child arguing with an accusing parent.

Here in the UK we've certified previous versions of BlackBerry, but not looked at BlackBerry 10 as yet, but with the US giving it the nod don't be surprised to see up an update along those lines ... just as soon as it looks like RIM might be at risk of being forgotten again. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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