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Microsoft puts something hard and sensitive in your pocket

New security cert for Windows Phone gets Redmond closer to BlackBerry

Application security programs and practises

Microsoft says one of the big selling points for Windows Phone is that some customers like the idea of using its software everywhere.

Redmond imagines customers keen on messaging will run Exchange on Windows Server and then use Outlook or a modern email app under Windows 8 on a PC or fondleslab, and Windows Phone 8 for mobile email, with Office 365 lurking in the background for added flexibility. Folks who chose this route will, Redmond reckons, enjoy optimally integrated goodness and a consistent user experience everywhere.

When you've got a hammer, the saying goes, everything looks like a nail. And when you're Microsoft, Microsoft looks like the answer to everything. In reality plenty of products carve out niches doing certain things exceptionally well, with BlackBerry's secure messaging services being a fine example of specialisation in action. One of the reasons BlackBerry is still drawing breath is that it can point to a wall covered in certificates signed by the US Department of Defence and its global brethren and attesting to just how securely it can move data.

Microsoft's wall bears many similar plaques for other products, but fewer nails have besmirched the plaster on the section reserved for mobile phone certificates.

That's now changed. Microsoft has announced that Windows Phone 8 has earned the good secret keeping seal of approval by picking up the FIPS 140-2 accreditation that means the US National Institute of Standards attests to the operating system's cryptography features being sufficient for “Sensitive, but Unclassified” communications.

Securing the FIPS 140-2 accreditation means Redmond can sell Windows Phone 8 to the US Federal Government, which is usually keen to favour local companies.

And the rest of us? Redmond's sales reps will surely be talking up Windows 8's “government grade security” any day now in an effort to make sure smartmobe buyers concerned by the state of BlackBerry's balance sheet understand the alternatives. BlackBerrry also posseses the FIPS 140-2 certificate, but can still outgun Redmond as its new kit is certified to run on Department of Defence networks. ®

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