Blackberry has promised that their first Android product, which is scheduled to be released before the end of 2015, will be just as secure as its previous models. Here on the Htet Tayza blog I assess the upcoming device to ascertain the reality behind Blackberry’s bold statement.
The Canadian firm Blackberry was once the world’s leading provider of smartphones. However it now only comprises 0.3% of smartphone operating system of market share, according to Yahoo News, against the Android’s 82.8%. They’re hoping to make up for lost ground with the Blackberry PRIV.
A Neurogadget post explained that the Blackberry PRIV has a 5.4-inch display that supports a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels at 540ppi. It features an 18MP primary camera, and a 2MP secondary camera. The PRIV is powered by a Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM and it boasts an internal storage of 32GB, which can be expanded with a microSD card. This is supported by a 3440 battery.
The Blackberry PRIV will be the Canadian company’s first Android smartphone. Blackberries of ages gone by used the firm’s own ‘BB.10’ software as their operating systems. However the PRIV has been fitted with the Google-developed operating system ‘Android Lollipop.’
Whilst Android handsets have eclipsed Blackberry in the global consumer market, governments still use Blackberries. This is no coincidence, as the Blackberry’s operating system was widely believed to be more secure than the Android Lollipop. However Blackberry recently revealed in a blogpost that the Blackberry PRIV will maintain the company’s stellar reputation for safeguarding privacy.
This is because the PRIV has been fitted with the features that made past models secure. This includes the Hardware Root of Trust, which is “a unique manufacturing process that injects cryptographic keys into the device hardware, providing a secure foundation for the entire platform.”
The device has also been fitted with Verified Boot and Secure Bootchain. This “uses the embedded keys (of the PRIV’s QWERTY keyboard) to verify every layer of the device from hardware to OS to applications in order to make sure they haven’t been tampered with.” Meanwhile the PRIV also has “a hardened Linux kernel with numerous patches and configuration changes to improve security” and “FIPS 140-2 compliant full disk encryption on by default to protect… privacy.”
Blackberry PRIV will also use ‘Blackberry infrastructure.’ This is “a secure distributed global network that transmits petabytes of encrypted data to and from the world’s most powerful leaders and professionals.” Furthermore the device has BE12, the Enterprise Mobility Management Platform utilised by the planet’s most powerful governments and corporations, and the brand new BlackBerry DTEK application, which is designed to help manage and safeguard privacy.
Htet Tayza’s commentary
The blog post argued that “the brand new PRIV by BlackBerry is the perfect smartphone for businesses and consumers looking for productivity, privacy and security.” By equipping the product with the technologies that made previous Blackberry’s secure enough for widespread governmental use, the Canadian firm has ensured the PRIV conforms to the highest security standards.