BlackBerry Tablet Cryptographic Kernel receives FIPS certification

By Bla1ze on 21 Jul 2011 12:47 pm EDT
FIPS PlayBook

The BlackBerry PlayBook has just become the first tablet to be approved under FIPS for use within the U.S. federal government. While the FIPS certification may not mean a whole lot to end users off hand, as it stands right now -- the approval of certification for the BlackBerry PlayBook OS is a pretty big thing to have happen. Many folks have speculated that one reason for the delays of native email and PIM on the PlayBook was due to the lack of FIPS certification. While that may or may not be true, we'll soon find out find out if the certification will help move these updates along. As Isaac highlighted:

FIPS - Federal Information Processing Standard - this is the cryptographic gold standard for the US government and is the required standard for many government agencies on their computers and handheld devices. The FIPS 140-2 certification is issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  A FIPS 140-2  certificate applies to an exact module name, hardware, software, firmware and/or applet version.  Translation: if RIM needs to 'tweek' something on this device it will need to be re-certified by NIST to maintain the 140-2. 

Now that Government has deemed the PlayBook OS secure, it meets RIM's standard policy on security as well and we all know how much Mike Lazaridis likes to ensure folks that BlackBerry devices are secure. Either way, the approval is a good thing that will hopefully trigger some reaction from RIM to push out some new features for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

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Source: NIST

July 21, 2011
BlackBerry PlayBook Becomes First Tablet Certified for U.S. Government
BlackBerry PlayBook Wins 'Best in Show' Award at FOSE 2011

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 21, 2011) - Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) announced today that it has received FIPS 140-2 certification for the new BlackBerry(R) PlayBook(TM) tablet, making the BlackBerry PlayBook the first tablet certified for deployment within U.S. federal government agencies. No other tablet on the market has gained FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) certification from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is required under the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA).

"RIM is pleased to announce that the BlackBerry PlayBook is the first tablet approved under FIPS for use within the U.S. federal government," said Scott Totzke, Senior Vice President, BlackBerry Security at Research In Motion. "This certification demonstrates our continued commitment to meeting the needs of security-conscious organizations and enables the U.S. federal government to buy with confidence knowing that the PlayBook meets their computing policy requirements for protecting sensitive information."

BlackBerry PlayBook is a powerful, ultra-portable tablet that fits comfortably in one hand. It has a stunning 7-inch high resolution display, offers true multi-tasking capabilities and a high-fidelity web experience. It also allows for secure pairing with BlackBerry(R) smartphones via the BlackBerry(R) Bridge(TM) app, which enables users to access their BlackBerry smartphone's email, calendar, address book, memo pad, task list, BBM (BlackBerry(R) Messenger) and browsing functionality using the larger display on the tablet.

The FIPS-certified BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is being showcased this week in Washington DC at FOSE - the largest Federal government information technology conference in the U.S. - where BlackBerry PlayBook has just been awarded Best in Show, and also Best of FOSE in the Handheld Devices category. More information about the BlackBerry PlayBook is available at

About Research In Motion Research In Motion (RIM), a global leader in wireless innovation, revolutionized the mobile industry with the introduction of the BlackBerry(R) solution in 1999. Today, BlackBerry products and services are used by millions of customers around the world to stay connected to the people and content that matter most throughout their day. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM operates offices in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. RIM is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market (NASDAQ:RIMM) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:RIM). For more information, visit or

Forward-looking statements in this news release are made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities laws. When used herein, words such as "expect", "anticipate", "estimate", "may", "will", "should", "intend," "believe", and similar expressions, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions made by RIM in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors that RIM believes are appropriate in the circumstances. Many factors could cause RIM's actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including those described in the "Risk Factors" section of RIM's Annual Information Form, which is included in its Annual Report on Form 40-F (copies of which filings may be obtained or These factors should be considered carefully, and readers should not place undue reliance on RIM's forward-looking statements. RIM has no intention and undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

The BlackBerry and RIM families of related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and trademarks of Research In Motion Limited. RIM, Research In Motion and BlackBerry are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be pending or registered in other countries. All other brands, product names, company names, trademarks and service marks are the properties of their respective owners. RIM assumes no obligations or liability and makes no representation, warranty, endorsement or guarantee in relation to any aspect of any third party products or services.

Reader comments

BlackBerry Tablet Cryptographic Kernel receives FIPS certification


Canadians don't care about the Canadian people.
Shame on them !!!!!!

Why doesn't the media tell the people that the Canadian government hates their people for not properly looking after their security? This is crap !

CANADIAN GOVERNMENT - Wake up ! Do you not care about your people? PLAYBOOKS ONLY - like the great U.S.A.

Can I haz PIM now? Actually I could care less about PIM, I manage all email and contact info on the BB itself, so the bridge being a "window" to it is perfect, I'd likely never use on board PIM.

However, I am tired of people complaining about it, which is the only reason I wish it would be made available already.

"However, I am tired of people complaining about it, which is the only reason I wish it would be made available already."
+1 my friend... +1...

Playbook seems to be the only commercially available tablet with FIPS certification allowing secure use with US government data.

Hi @branta,

Alex from RIM here. You are correct: The PlayBook is the first tablet to receive FIPS certification – no other tablet on the market has it. Why is it important? Government agencies have to secure sensitive information with confidence it will be protected. Before technology can be deployed, it has to be certified for use within U.S. federal government agencies.

This recent CIO Magazine article ( highlights the superior security capabilities of the PlayBook compared to other tablets. And in case you missed it, as @RyMac04 notes below, the PlayBook won “Best in Show” at FOSE earlier this week for its enterprise features and security:

Alex, RIM Social Media Team

iBGR only posts negative RIM news, therefore this def won't be hitting that site. Geller is having a strokefest with Jobs right now about what Apple news he can post next, perhaps they are gonna release the human CentiPad next;p

I love how the article on BGR about this is so ho-hum, RIM is now certified as the only US government certified tablet. This is really big news and something RIM should be publicly applauded for.

Haters gone hate, why can't they do the same when there is something positive?

Yay now soon I can have native email instead of bridge email. That way when someone sends me a message I have to view/delete it on both devices....that will get annoying real fast

How is this any different from having email pushed to your mobile device from an email account? Same situation: the user sets the resolution protocol so the devices know who has "top dibs" when there's a discrepancy between inboxes. If, for example, you delete an email on your phone and ask that it is also deleted from your inbox, a Playbook that is presumably also linked to the same address would take the hint and also delete the message. Problem solved, no?

I'm sure if this hasn't already been thought of, it won't take much to put it into action because of the way updating works on QNX.

nice. not sure if it has been mentioned here before but the Blackberry Smartcard Reader also has been certified 140-2 Level 3 (highest level is 4). 6 days prior to Tablet OS being certified.

"The BlackBerry Smart Card Reader for BlackBerry devices is an accessory that, when used in proximity to certain Bluetooth(R) enabled BlackBerry devices and computers, integrates smart card use with the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution, letting users authenticate with their smart cards to log in to Bluetooth enabled BlackBerry devices and computers."

A couple odd things I noted in the filing document....
1) "BlackBerry Tablet OS version 6.6"
2) "Control Input: Keyboard, touch screen, USB port, trackball, BlackBerry button, escape button, backlight button, and phone button."

Anyone want to start speculating wildly?

Bla1ze just wanted to point out that this is very important too with respect to the development of their new devices with the QNX OS. Since now that it's FIPS certified now, this is one less thing that could hold up the QNX HHs when they are ready to be released.

DLNA would be awesome, ML did promise that. However just like JB said there'd be native email in 60 days, it didn't happen. Therefore who knows when will get DLNA

This is great news for RIM.

The FIPS-certified BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is being showcased this week in Washington DC at FOSE - the largest Federal government information technology conference in the U.S. - where BlackBerry PlayBook has just been awarded Best in Show, and also Best of FOSE in the Handheld Devices category.