UK government agency clarifies stance on BlackBerry 10 security certification

BlackBerry Z10
By James Richardson on 20 Mar 2013 10:18 am EDT

I read an article earlier today over on The Guardian's website which stated that BlackBerry 10 would not be safe enough for government work here in the UK. I didn't believe what I was reading could be true, so I made a few phone calls to my buddies at BlackBerry to set the record straight.

The Guardian stated that the UK's Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG) have not passed certification for BlackBerry 10. Well, that would be correct and here's why: CESG have recently changed the way that they operate and the new evaluation process is not a short one. In fact, it can take a good seven months or so. If that's the case then of course the CESG would not have said that Blackberry 10 is secure enough for the UK government and security agencies to use - BlackBerry 10 simply isn't old enough.

BlackBerry is working closely with the CESG here in Great Britain and considering that older BlackBerry software has been famous for its security features, I am more than confident that when the testing process is complete all will be fine.

Here's the official word from CESG on the matter:

"Discussions with BlackBerry are ongoing about the use of the BlackBerry 10 platform in government. We have not yet performed an evaluation of the security of that platform, but we expect to be issuing Platform Guidance in the summer. This will cover a number of platforms including Blackberry 10 (and the use of 'Balance'). We have a long standing security partnership with BlackBerry and this gives us confidence that the BlackBerry 10 platform is likely to represent a viable solution for UK Government." 

There you have it - BlackBerry 10 isn't certified for British government use yet. BlackBerry World is right around the corner, where it wouldn't be surprising to see a significant OS update with even more of the security features governments and large corporations need. 

Reader comments

UK government agency clarifies stance on BlackBerry 10 security certification


This makes a lot more sense then that guardian article.. but alas, that poorly researched bit of hrmm "journalism' will still spread viraly and cause our stock to plummet..

Really sucks that we have to rely on each other for credible info while mainstream continues to bash and belittle. Oh well. #KeepMoving. Thanks, CB.

This makes a lot more sense, the general view in some people's mind is that BlackBerry10 has "Failed" the security vetting process, but in reality it just hasn't been passed yet, hence why they are working closely with cesg.

Posted via CB10

This story was a clear case of Zombie reporting.

In the end it only helps BlackBerry out, when individuals have to start retracting statements and flawed investigations in the future.

"...a significant OS update with even more of the security features governments and large corporations need. "

So, is this device enterprise ready? We're waiting till June/July before we consider rollout based on the BES10 release roadmaps.

It is enterprise ready. Whether it suits your enterprise needs is up to you to determine. Many companies are actively using it in their environments already.

Posted via CB10 on my Z10!

This reminds me an awful lot of when the US carriers announced the phone wouldn't be released until March (now). People who didn't do their research automatically thought that it was because the carriers had no confidence in BB10, when in actuality it was because they were still testing the Z10.

I have just viewed the guardian article and it indeed looks poorly written and presumptive. Got to love our media at times.....

Posted via CB10

This begs the question what, if any, phone or OS does pass the UK security requirement? I'm interested in a Secure Android ROM that I believe the NSA put out. Would love to test this on my Galaxy Nexus.

BlackBerry os 7.1 is the only one I know for sure, I think 7,6 and 5 also. But only blackberry. The UK government is unlikely to ever use android currently and IOS isn't even in the picture.

Posted via CB10

As soon as I saw N4BB tweet about this yesterday, i knew the tech site here in the USA were going to have a field day with their "Headlines" for the article...

I actually just read this on CNET who said "according to The Guardian", hows that for responsible reporting? Like I've always said, RIM should wake up in the PR department. There should be a counter article publishing facts instantly when things like this pop up, it means a whole lot to all tiers of consumers. A simple headline BB10 to undergo updated CESG evaluation process, followed by the very important quote above. This would do a whole lot for this brand!

What is it with people being so quick to put blackberry down? It's turning into a feeding frenzy.

Posted via CB10

i'm sure i'll be seeing this information being twisted in a way not favorable to bb in many places. when one is outright lying it should be criminal.problem is they don't have enough prisons for the gang on wallstreet.

Good news and to the point. All those "news" articles from bashers are just to get clicks! FOR SHAME!

REALLY?!? I would be sanctioned for that kind of unethical reporting. I hope BB is on this and having a conversation with higher-ups at the publication. Grrr!

I can't talk to much on the UK side of things but I can talk on the Canadian side of things. The phone itself is not the issue with security. It's BES10 that's not ready. BlackBerry is planning on releasing a fully corporate service pack In their next major release. This will allow the phone to work as a fully corporate phone. Balance is great for a majority of enterprise areas but is not sufficient for a government agency. By having a fully corporate BES along with two factor authentication you now have a very secure reliable phone. It's the BES that makes the phone the most secure and that's just around the corner. FIPS 140-2 needs two factor authentication and it's not available yet. The next release of Bes10 is what all government agencies are waiting for. Remember BES10 is very much in its infancy but we're almost there from a government standpoint.

Posted via CB10

Qdogg73 - you seem to know what you are talking about. Does that mean that the Canadian government will likely NOT be able to allow BB Balance? I was hoping to only carry one phone at some point. Oh, to dream!

Posted via CB10

Just wanted to point out that BB10 received FIPS 140-2 certification prior to launch of the handsets! The first to do so!

And poor research from the Guardian bybthe reporter. Once again justbgrasping at a statement without reading through it to write a crappie story.

Exactly. The UK government would never use brand new technology. It has to be fairly established. They will also not use another platform, the only approved platform is blackberry os 7.1.
So it is not exactly a loss for BlackBerry

Posted via CB10

Few journalists are objective with BlackBerry these days. Could it be because they can't hack into BlackBerrys or bribe enough to get access through the carriers?


Posted via CB10

For the most recent 5 years, the US media elected to share only two types of stories about RIM: 1.) negative news; and 2.) inaccurate negative news. I hope that the media worm in the UK is not being incentivised to do the same with BlackBerry like was done across the pond.

The system is still in its early stage. It's not difficult to show an existing security hole.

Just try this with an Z10 activated on BDS: After activating the device with the default Policy, deactivate the access to Cloud Services (Dropbox, Box) in the Policy. What happens to the Services on the devices? Nothing! Bad move.

Posted via CB10

haha! He tweeted this earlier...

Charles Arthur ‏@charlesarthur 4h
" Starting to think it’s not worth writing any smartphone story that isn’t backed by financial results or respected analyst data."

So the TECHNOLOGY EDITOR of the Guardian is sarcasticly bemoaning that he can't get away with writing baseless slander any more!

Shoddy reporting of people jumping the gun as usual. Thanks for shedding some clarity as always CB

Another case of biased articles and negative publicity for BBRY. Thanks for setting the record straight.

Yeah saw the Guardian Author defending himself on twitter. Claimed for the most part that he was right. He just would not back down. It really comes down to massive ego from many of these guys.

UPDATE: OK now the author Charles Arthur has finally relented and admitted he was wrong. Here is his latest tweet.

Charles Arthur ‏@charlesarthur 17m
Re BlackBerry article: we’re making corrections. Was wrong to suggest CESG has “rejected” BB10. It’s unevaluated.

Gotta love the CB and BlackBerry community for making sure these false reporting is corrected. Kudos to you all. :)

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

As I am from the UK I am shocked by that article, the way the UK media works is truly shocking , if you wan't proof read the daily mail ,

This was just another blatant and malicious attempt by vicious media attack dogs to harm Blackberry. The author should be fired and the Guardian should be slapped with a heavy fine.

The author of the original article, Charles Arthur, is getting some serious grief on Twitter about this. He's more or less defending his article and claiming it all boils down to semantics and an over zealous headline editor. LMAO!

Unfortunately not surprising that the media is skewed in its reporting. Is there anybody else out there still not convinced that Apple uses its "war chest" for more than R&D? I would suggest that perhaps lobbying the media could be a plausible alternative use of these funds. Unfortunately biased reporting does exist in our society and those with the money have great influence. Marxism lives.

I read about this on BGR first. That site should have a disclaimer on it. Something like "If you're an idiot and believe everything you read is true click Enter".

Sad thing is Toronto Star run the misreport article of The Guardian. There's no journalistic integrity what so ever! To have another news paper published without fact checking, might as well turn into the tabloid at the supermarket check out.