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Body Blow for BlackBerry

Ray Le Maistre
9/11/2013

For the team trying to sell BlackBerry, the latest revelations about the undercover surveillance tactics of the US's National Security Agency (NSA) and UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) could not be coming at a worse time. (See For Sale: One Used BlackBerry, Selling BlackBerry: The Options, and BlackBerry: Is There Still Value? .)

The Canadian smartphone specialist has long prided itself on the security of its devices and services but now even that reputation is being called into question by NSA documents revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by German publication Spiegel.

The documents suggest that security operatives not only hacked into texts and emails being sent and received on BlackBerry devices but also into voice communications.

Of cold comfort will be the revelations that other smartphone systems have also been compromised -- nothing is totally secure from the prying of the NSA and its partners. But with security being Blackberry's trump card, the Snowden revelations have dealt the BlackBerry team a very ugly hand.

For background on the spying scandal involving the NSA and GCHQ, see:

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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Phil_Britt
Phil_Britt
9/11/2013 | 2:17:01 PM
BlackBerry not the biggest issue
Users are. And not just of BlackBerry devices. There are all kinds of studies about the users of various smartphones and other devices not taking the simplest security precautions, leaving passwords where they are easily found, using easy to crack passwords (e.g., 1234...).

Security is everyone's responsibility. But customers want to make it easy on themselves despite all of the articles about hacking, identity theft, etc.

But, as a few have pointed out, with its tenuous financial position, this kind of thing hurts BlackBerry more than it hurts other device providers.
RitchBlasi
RitchBlasi
9/11/2013 | 12:52:54 PM
BBB
And you would think that Blackberry, which has primarily been serving business customers since its inception, would have a steel vault around its customers data, right?  that said, and as someone pointed out, I would think that Android, with all its fragmentation, will be brought into this conversation real fast.
mendyk
mendyk
9/11/2013 | 12:31:53 PM
Re: Pecking order
I agree. I wonder at what point we start distinguishing "security" from "privacy." Security is critical for some communications. Privacy is becoming an old-fashioned concept. Maybe Facebook is to thank for that.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
9/11/2013 | 11:30:51 AM
Re: Pecking order
Some people may try to take extra security precautions, but I doubt it will have an impact for most people. If cracking BlackBerry shows anything, it's that there's really nothing you can do.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
9/11/2013 | 11:29:47 AM
ouch
Wow, this couldn't be worse news at worse timing for BlackBerry. It says it's open to shopping the business, but given that security is one of its biggest (THE biggest?) selling point of its platform, do you think this will hurt its chances? Certainly won't help...
mendyk
mendyk
9/11/2013 | 11:28:19 AM
Pecking order
BlackBerry is the story here because its footing is most tenuous. But do you think these revelations will have any impact on how people use their smartphones?
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