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BlackBerry tightens up on app security with BlackBerry Guardian and Trend Micro

BlackBerry Guardian
By James Richardson on 24 Feb 2014 09:08 am EST
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Security - we all know that's BlackBerry's strongest point and when it comes to the applications in BlackBerry World it would seem that the Canadian company are stepping things up a notch to ensure that submitted applications meet the required security criteria. 

The two logos in the above image - BlackBerry Guardian and Trend Micro - you should see appearing in BlackBerry World in the very near future. This is essentially to give users piece of mind that the app has been through the vigorous tests that BlackBerry carry out to ensure security and privacy threats. 

Press Release

Today, BlackBerry customers will begin seeing two additional logos within our app store that will serve as visible markers of BlackBerry’s multi-layered approach for vetting apps. These logos will highlight apps that have been scanned by BlackBerry Guardian, our internal, proprietary app analysis program and Trend Micro’s Mobile App Reputation technology.

In order to provide a stringent level of protection for customers, BlackBerry’s multi-layered strategy focuses on innovative scanning techniques, internal analysis and working with industry-leading third-party anti-malware vendors. A critical part of this strategy is the BlackBerry Guardian program, which uses a combination of automated and manual analysis to comprehensively vet apps prior to them being available in our storefront. Apps are also routinely evaluated after submission into BlackBerry World to help ensure that customers remain protected from malware and privacy infringing issues. If we identify an app that doesn’t meet our security and privacy specifications, we investigate and take whatever action is needed to help protect BlackBerry customers.

In conjunction with BlackBerry Guardian, Trend Micro’s advanced mobile scanning and detection capabilities add another layer of protection and assurance for BlackBerry customers. Trend Micro’s Mobile App Reputation technology scans both current and new Android applications submitted to the BlackBerry World storefront for potential malicious behavior. As with BlackBerry Guardian, automated results that do not meet our security or privacy specifications are followed up with manual analysis by the BlackBerry Guardian team.

Given the complex nature and diversity of apps, it is implausible that any mobile vendor will be able to catch 100 percent of all malicious software. This challenge is why it is imperative that BlackBerry implements additional layers of security controls to help ensure our customers enjoy a unique level of security and privacy. To that end, BlackBerry’s detection capabilities are constantly evolving and adapting to address emerging security and privacy concerns in order to help keep BlackBerry customers’ data secure.

To help inform customers about the layered approach BlackBerry uses to vet apps, the BlackBerry Guardian and Trend Micro™ logos will appear on BlackBerry devices when viewing apps in BlackBerry World. These logos help highlight our ongoing commitment to protecting customers from security and privacy concerns.

Security and privacy threats are continuously evolving across the mobile industry, and BlackBerry is committed to working with other security-conscious vendors to help address industrywide challenges. Building upon our successful collaboration, BlackBerry and Trend Micro will continue working together to bolster app security and privacy protections, and the addition of the BlackBerry Guardian and Trend logos in our storefront helps highlight the steps we are taking together to inform and protect customers.mmitment to protecting customers from security and privacy concerns.

Source: Inside BlackBerry Business Blog

Reader comments

BlackBerry tightens up on app security with BlackBerry Guardian and Trend Micro

70 Comments

Hell Yeah!! Especially for those apps that deal directly with our pictures and other media.

 We have apks cuz we need 'em not cuz we want 'em 

He went for the gold and got it!

This is great news! Looking forward to seeing this unfold like a peacock!

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON!

Jojo, takes gold in Crackberry Olympics.
Seriously, this app protection is excellent, will show how many of the Android apps have been naughty little boys.

Posted by the Crackberry Pirate

I think this is step 1.
When BlackBerry finally advertises the fact it can run Android apps, and integrates it into BB World (we all know that's coming after they clean up the Android runtime errors), they'll put their Security Stamp on top, making BlackBerry the most secure Android option.

And disable location services for Android apps. Forcing android apps to use the bb10 security model,where the user can deny access to the various parts individually, would be preferred.

Magnificently composed using CB10 on my BB Z10!

+1
This is a great move. Allows app developers the choice of going through more vigorous testing and let's consumers have the choice of how much risk they want to take on when installing apps.

Posted via CB10

Been waiting for something like this. Now let's see whether the other platforms are able or willing to catch up.

iPhone for me? Scr... ahem Q that! (posted from the latter)

Unless you got your Android ports from BBRY World you are missing the point of the announcement.

Posted via CB10 on my Z30 (10.2.1.1925)

I wonder what security really means when it comes to apps and data, etc. I doubt it is the case but BlackBerry and other companies should be rating security, in part, on the people and companies behind the apps, and also geographic considerations - I don't care what the app appears to be in the abstract if the people behind it are linked to crime, etc. In the corporate world it's pretty routine to investigate potential business partners or acquisitions - credit searches, criminal record searches, litigation searches, etc. Perhaps it would be an opportunity to create a new security class for apps, etc. that is informed to some extent by this kind of review. Any more knowledgeable people have any comments?

I think there's a bigger picture being painted here where BlackBerry is setting things up for an influx of android apps to BB WORLD. This would be their way to weed out the bogus apps that reside in Google's Play store.

This seems like another step in officially bridging the app gap. Something is brewing...

Posted via CB10

Right, my sentiments exactly. What good is it to say your app store has over 1Million apps, when most times there are 3-10 duplicates of the same app? Or my favorite...apps that don't even work, code is all messed-up, the "developer" just wanted to say, "I've got an app on android"

Posted via CB10

Hijack This is a legendary piece of software that is a testament to Trend Micro's reputation. I still use it to this day. Damn good choice, BlackBerry!

I used my Q10 to create this CrackBerry madness!

They should require developers(anybody who submits an app) to justify permissions they request from users. I hope that one day those settings will also become available for android ports, not sure if it's technically possible though.

It is technically possible, but BlackBerry would have to get permission from each app's developer to modify the code

Posted via CB10

Excellent, comforting news... Android apps must be included in this net. I use Lookout to scan Android apps. We need this concerted commitment and robustness on all BB fronts!

Hibby_CB10; Z10STL100-3/10.2.1.1925

Love it and I agree with the previous post about making vendors justify why their apps need permissions to various resources.

Posted via CB10

Good first step but would really like to see, mire than even this, the ability to change, edit permissions for ALL apps, (especially Android apps that tend to be more than a bit wild and free with what permissions they want).

Posted via CB10

'but a BlackBerry without BES is not more secure than iOS and Android'

I, for one, am happy with any and all security additions.

Posted via my Z30.

A BlackBerry without BES is indeed more secure than the other platforms. There is a lot going on internally in the OS and in the hardware to protect data and crypto keys. Can't say the same for the competition.

BAM! This is what we need to discern BB World from Google Play and the App Store.
They still have work to do to ensure that submitted apps don't ask for "world permissions". App developers must be asked to list required permissions when submitting apps. If I don't want to give out my contact list to an app, it would be nice to know that before paying for that app!

Already there in BlackBerry World. However, it should be on near the top, not at the end of the description. You need to see straight away whether an app is secure enough.

Posted via CB10 on my Q10

I think this is great and one of those advantages that should have long term benefits. They used a lot of great verbs in the press release explaining how they would be analysing, vetting, investigating, scanning, protecting, detecting and ensuring our security. Does anyone know exactly what they're looking for? Would they be security lapses that leak information to developers, third party companies, wifi or blue tooth eavesdroppers, other governments? I'm guessing there are a lot of possible breaches and therefore I'm glad BlackBerry is doing this and also advertising it.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry has read my mind.

I always felt that with the ability to run Android there was a need to improve and increase the security.

Respect BlackBerry

Posted via CB10

Is this ""Trend Micro" available as an app in BBW?. If not, it won't be a bad idea if it is so we scan all our APK downloads before installing.

Is there any chance that BlackBerry Guardian might become available as a standalone app in BB World? And on another note, if only they would return BlackBerry Protect to its former BB7 usefulness...

I'm sure Kevin meant to write 'rigorous', not 'vigorous'.

There's nothing quite like an annoying pendant, is there ;)?

Apropos the news, obviously it's good. But it makes me wonder why this is happening just now. This solution doesn't seem so advanced or complicated that it wasn't possible under the last executive management team. So why didn't it happen? Rhetorical question, obviously.

Posted by the inimitable Z10 handheld system

Not Kevin, James I meant.

That doesn't prove I make just as many mistakes as anyone else though, OK?

Posted by the inimitable Z10 handheld system

Good news, Trend Micro has some great technology - and my company MRG Effitas supplies them with hundreds of thousands of malware samples every day to help them improve the efficacy of their products!

Posted via CB10

Saddened by the number of people on here who think the scanning is new. They have been doing this from before the BB10 launch. The logo display is new, and important, but it only serves to inform the user.

The only Android applications they can scan this way are those hosted in BlackBerry World.

Posted via CB10

This news smacks android community since I read virus or malware is starting to crop up in their play store.

Posted via CB10

Phew! I was eagerly waiting for this to happen. It's been a nail bitter with the floods of apps coming in; especially the ported ones.

Let's not slip up and let a security hole to happen. The naysayers would have a hay-day!

I have yet to find an app in the store that doesn't have these icons. And I've looked up some pretty sketchy apps... I don't really think this adds much "security" at all.

Posted via CB10

I like this. I am more worried about some app distributing my contacts list or other information on the net than I am about the NSA reading my emails. This does not help if you load Android apps from outside sources though. Makes buying from BlackBerry a better option in terms of security. Keep moving on this initiative.

Posted via CB10

Does it mean that apps without that logo are potentially dangerous? :)
Does it mean that apps installed via BB World before this are not entirely safe?

Posted via CB10