Interview with Scott Totzke, VP of Global Security Group for Research in Motion

By Kevin Michaluk on 4 May 2010 12:52 pm EDT

One of the big highlights at WES 2010 for me personally was the sit-down time I had with senior level management at RIM. Everybody we had the opportunity to speak to had a passion for BlackBerry and knew their areas of expertise inside and out. For a couple of these interviews we were even able to fire up the camera so we could bring you back the highlights in video!

The name BlackBerry is synonymous with security, so it was awesome to sit down with Scott Totzke, VP of the Global Security Group for RIM, and learn more about RIM's holistic approach to security. Scott also took the opportunity in speaking to CrackBerry readers to throw out some security tips that all BlackBerry owners should pay attention to (set a device password!!!!). Apologies in advance for the little bit of radio interference static that shows up towards the end of the interview... as you can imagine, it's hard to avoid that at an event like WES with BlackBerrys everywhere. We hope you enjoy the piece. HUGE thanks go to RIM and Scott for taking the time to talk to CrackBerry.

Reader comments

Interview with Scott Totzke, VP of Global Security Group for Research in Motion


i thought breaker was the best app on BB... apps really are blah on BB's. limits app space prevents anything good from being built.

sorry consumers do not care about security. people by a blackberry because at keyboard for easy texting. RIM/BB can preach about security all they want but the everyday non business user does not care about security cause they're not doing anything all that important othere than texting, email, calls.

The point is that this is Crackberry. A consumer oriented site for bb users. Users who care so much about security are not hanging out here. The people here are mostly of the consumer variety and they want more. If all you care about is security then go hang at and see how much fun that is.

i said consumers... i know thats what business people want. but if you watched the video he was making the point that consumers non-business people are worried about phone security... which is not true. Style, features, brand, apps, popularity, and influence by media/friends/family all are considered way before a consumer thinks about security.

were getting hacked left and right? Paris Hilton, K. Kardashian, L. Lohan, etc etc all had their Sidekick accounts hacked and exploited..then the hollywood exodus occurred and everyone shifted to Blackberry. Im a consumer user, but I use my berry a lot for personal business and there is a lot of data that is 1. valuable to me and 2. could harm me financially- so for some users like myself, security is an important issue. Im not saying security is the ONLY important issue, but there are many consumer users who do not want their personal data at risk.

that was because sidekick data at that time was kept online. texts, phone numbers, notes, all of that was kept online. the sidekick device itself was never hacked. just there tmobile sidekick web account. if you're a public figure the chances of any type of account you own getting hacked is higher that a nobody, simply because forgotten password questions can easily be answered by just googling the celeb and finding out the answer (dogs name, bday, moms names, etc)

i wish i knew about smart phones 20 years ago . this would have been a job that i would like to study in tec or collage.

lol RIM security at its best. he's just VP of Security for devices. I'm sure there is a VP of OS and Related Leaks. I think less people would own a BB if it wasn't for the leaks.

there's someone at RIM that's leaking it to the bloggers, and reading up on the reviews and stuff. If they don't....they really should. It's an interesting way to gain feedback.

Unlike some people above, I really enjoyed this interview. I think what he was trying to say is that the industry is moving towards mobile commerce, and conducting important transactions on the phone. When that transition happens, Blackberry will be the first choice, b/c of the security factor.

People have to consider the fact that RIM is catering to two different markets. Any changes in one (consumer) need to be "approved" by the other (enterprise). They can't just start making changes to please the consumer market and lose the faith of the enterprise market.

This interview also goes to show why RIM seems to be "behind" the trend. It's because they have to consider so much more, and be very careful in their steps.

Good interview Kevin, thanks.

its not hate, its just RIM does not get it. they're so IBM corporate yet they're trying to appeal to the consumers and compete with companies like Apple and Google. They need a younger R&D team... to handle the consumer market and leave the current team to handle the business. Having IBM suit types try and do creative stuff is just not working. There mindset is completely different. RIM still thinks we the consumers dont need a lot of app space.

I agree that RIM needs a younger mindset when trying to appeal to the consumer market. It will probably never happen, but I don't see why they don't start another line of consumer focused phones. Oh yeah, probably b/c if they do they'll all end up looking like the clamshell!!

It is also what will cause the platform to ultimately fail, if RIM doesn't revamp their OS model.
Sure JAVA was great for these first few generations of smartphones, and it did help RIM to make the BB OS a very safe business platform. But it is not going to be able to keep-up with the advance in hardware and what people are going to come to expect a smartphone to be capable of doing (what others can do).

I don't know why people trot out this Java argument every time BB OS comes up. Are you a developer? My guess is no, but I happen to be. There are very few languages out there that are so bad they prevent a developer from creating apps, and Java is not one of them. What affects the quality of apps on BlackBerry is the BB SDK. Making nice UIs on a BlackBerry is a pain in the ass, but it's got nothing to do with Java.

Don't believe me? The native language of Android is also Java. Right from Wikipedia:

It [Android] allows developers to write managed code in the Java language, controlling the device via Google-developed Java libraries.

Android does provide a native SDK, but most apps don't use it. Java is a fine language. I'd say it's a far better language than the C variant used on the iPhone. What makes Android and iPhone apps good are the SDKs, and that is really what RIM needs to fix. Fortunately, the SDK is one of the big behind the scenes changes that is supposed to arrive in OS 6.