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Add an extra layer of encryption to your messages with Secure Mail

By Alicia Erlich on 16 Mar 2014 04:51 am EDT
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For anyone in an office setting who uses Microsoft Outlook, there is an option to encrypt the message content for outgoing mail. It is there to establish and safeguard your privacy and any sensitive information that may be contained within the message from being seen by prying eyes. Probably a little too technical but if you would like to secure the email messages exchanged on your BlackBerry in a similar manner there is Secure Mail.

It does so by utilizing BlackBerry’s FIPS validated cryptography, AES 256 bit encryption, and the ability to exchange a public key with other people. As such it prevents your emails from being intercepted. For example, if an incoming encrypted message from a Secure Email user comes all you would have to do is tap on the attachment in the hub and enter your personal passphrase. You can respond in kind from within the application and they in turn would enter in their key to read.

Setting up is quite simple. Both you and your recipient(s) first need to install the application and setup your personal and private keys. Then you and your contacts would have to email each other your public key and save. Once that is done, all you would have to do is tap on the compose icon in the application and every email sent using Secure Mail will be encrypted. 

When your keys are established it will ask you for a password. You will not be able to open and read received encrypted messages without this password so it is important not to lose or misplace. Keys remain encrypted and are stored on either your device or SD card. However, this action must be done for each email account you wish to send messages from. This means if you have 5 email addresses, each one will need to establish their own keys and passwords. 

There are those out there who are always seeking peace of mind when sending messages. With BlackBerry’s FIPS certification and AES 256 bit encryption added to your mail it is a fast and convenient way of locking them down. Though attachments are not supported, it is compatible with BlackBerry 10 and is $2.99 to purchase. 

More information/Purchase Secure Mail

50 comments

Insync

Thanks. Interesting.

Posted via CB10

mandony

I find it hard to believe that BlackBerry has not capitalized, in their advertising (now nonexistent) , on two features
1. Included high security in this highly insecure world.
2. You can successfully install many Android apps using Snap. And, the many apps from BlackBerry World. Regret Snap is not yet native, but BlackBerry users are savvy to install it.

jimbowman111

Nothings going to change my world.

Posted via CB10

ATI nsider

Very nice indeed. This is good for personal security where we are not connected to BES10.
Keep them coming.

qwerty4ever

BlackBerry should have included this capability with the built-in email and BBM applications. Didn't the BlackBerry OS 10 Development Team consider secure messaging for non-BES users worthy of consideration?

Posted via the BlackBerry Q5 using CB10.

WhateverColorBerry

What about implementing s/mime first?

Posted via CB10

Prem WatsApp

Hope they make attachments available, too. Coming soon?

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

Prem WatsApp

Other thing, is this going to be the PGP / Secure Email implementation we are waiting for, now delivered as a paid app rather than an add-on or built into the OS?

Good on the developer for spotting the need / gap, and making an app for the time being.

Hope it's just temporary, just like the torch / flashlight apps, that are now pretty much obsolete on 10.2.1

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

Puz_zled

Indeed, there has to be a native, built in paid for solution for consumers that BlackBerry can provide and capitalize on. This should be far easier for them to do than try to monetize BBM for the near future, and create a new revenue stream that keeps on coming. With an elegant, secure communications solution for the masses, I could see people taking this up as an add on service. It is still the BlackBerry brand that resonates with the masses.

This post Powered by BlackBerry

kushiechad

Interesting but before I would trust it I would need under to understand the underlying crypto. Probably needs Steve Gibson of GRC to scrutinise the app ideally.

Posted via CB10

Prem WatsApp

I reckon he's a good bloke, but some ridicule him as a snake oil trader with SpinRite.

(It works, but not always. Better pull an image with ddrescue first, if it is still readable / HDD discovered in BIOS, otherwise it's good, you've got nothing to lose unless you wanna spend hundreds for lab data rescue.)

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

Richard Buckley

Most of his detractors I've read are haters without any credibility themselves. Of course when something fails there will be repair procedures that will work for some failures and not for others.

Spinrite generally works on drives that have been neglected and begun to suffer from bit rot. It won't recover from hardware failure or abuse. As Steve himself often says that could be because Spinrite forces the drive software to look at the whole surface, so the drive fixes itself. There are other tools that will do this, but you have to have the opportunity and / or ability to run them.

The most telling point is that if you listen to Steve long enough you will notice he often suggests backing up as a superior alternative to Spinrite.

Posted via CB10

Richard Buckley

Agreed. The fact that they are using BlackBerry FIPS approved libraries is good, but doesn't ensure that they haven't made a mistake.

One thing I noticed right away is there doesn't seem to be a way to verify public keys received from others. Without that it is possible to defeat using a man in the middle attack. Cryptography 101. Surely by now people realize that an email claiming to be from Alice might actually be from Bob.

Posted via CB10

cletis

I suppose, but in actual practice, when the first encrypted email sent to Alice gets to her and her reply that she can't read it alerts you to the fact that she never sent you her public key, you don't send her any more sensitive information using that key, and since that first email after merging someone's public key is always one to say that you've done so, and if you're reading this it worked, that means that no sensitive information was compromised.

Richard Buckley

You should read more about how man in the middle attacks are done. If the key exchange was compromised by such an attack it could remain undetected for quite some time.

If you really need strong encryption for data, then you really need some way to verify the keys. If this were not the case we would not have certificate authorities.

Posted via CB10

gariac

Sadly, Steve Gibson has joined the dark side (Apple).

You can do GPG with k-9 mail, but the profess is complicated. If this program is a generic GPG encryption program that integrates with BlackBerry email, it is worth the cost. But you need to store your public key on the internet somewhere, so I don't quite understand what this program does.

Posted via CB10

sinkingphoenix

Toysoft made other good apps, but sadly I'd rather wait for BlackBerry to incorporate s/mime into the os. It seems they use RSA in this app, or is the underlying crypto PGP? Are there ways to import already existing keys? Is this compatible with, for example enigmail? If it only works with itself, I'd rather skip it, even though it's good someone made the effort.

Posted via CB10

Richard Buckley

Actually PGP uses RSA for the PKI part. But it uses different symmetric cryptography (IDEA I believe) instead of AES

Posted via CB10

canuckbear

Would be more useful if it supported attachments. Doesn't pgp mail do that?

Posted via CB10

akavbb

PKI my friends. Include already issued certificates by CAs and then we speak.
Until then, 2.69?
No way...

Step_6

I know this is unrelated, but vote for z30 in the phone show down... this is great promo for blackberry!

http://m.technobuffalo.com/2014/03/15/sony-xperia-z2-vs-blackberry-z30-m...

Posted via CB10

buylocal_getaBB

Dito. Fall in love with the z30 more every day

Buy a bb, get a droid for free

canadian nick

Looks like BlackBerry should market a BES Lite that families or small businesses could buy for a fee. Everyone should have the option of this security.

Posted via CB10

cletis

It's a bit more complicated than that.

Let's pretend that the FREE Lite version of BES (called BES Express, or BESX) that was around for years was NOT discontinued with the release of BES10, and that you can still get it for free today, including free server and user licenses. (Yes, that is correct: The exact thing you are proposing be made available for a fee was available for free right up until BB10 phones came out.) Getting your hands on BESX alone does not give you what you need. Here are the steps through which you'd have to go to provide yourself with email encryption over a forthcoming release of this hypothesized BESX 12:

1. Purchase your own domain name. (Cheap enough to be ignored in overall cost calculations.)
2. Configure the nameservers and DNS records for that domain. (Automatically done for you if you use your domain registrar as a hosting provider.)
3. Pay a monthly or annual fee to a hosting provider for a dedicated server to host MS Exchange (or Lotus Domino, if you prefer). This will not be cheap.
4. Install and configure BESX - which will also require the installation and configuration of a back end database (either MSDE or SQL Express -- or SQL Server if you have it) and the configuration of the OS to allow BESX and the DB to play nice. (Let's assume that this hypothetical Lite version allows installation on the same server as the one on which Exchange or Domino is installed, unlike BES10.)

(As an alternative to Steps 3 and 4, for far, far, far more money up front, you can purchase your own server hardware, license your own server OS, license your own Exchange or Domino server, pay an annual fee to a dynamic DNS provider to provide you with inbound and outbound SMTP traffic that goes around your home ISP's blockage of those ports, and finally, buy a home cable/DSL router/firewall that allows port forwarding and set that up)

5. Don't forget that you'll need to learn how to install, configure, and maintain these software packages. If you can do that for free, then more power to ya, but there is a dollar value on this knowledge, so I doubt it.

canadian nick

Thanks cletis I guess that answers that.

In that case maybe a BlackBerry cloud service with an email.

Posted via CB10

Puz_zled

This!

This post Powered by BlackBerry

qwerty4ever

There are reliable and reputable service providers offering low-cost hosted Microsoft Exchange Server mailboxes and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 accounts for individuals and small businesses. You'd have to ask about encrypted email features when sending/receiving email to/from people not on your BES 10.

Posted via the BlackBerry Q5 using CB10.

tonythecanuck

Can everyone please go to the Techno Buffalo Web site to vote for the BlackBerry Z30:

http://www.technobuffalo.com/2014/03/15/sony-xperia-z2-vs-blackberry-z30...

Thanks everyone! -tony in Montreal

Posted via CB10

Anthony Roberts5

I'm from montreal too :)!!!!

Posted via CB10

Matthew_hu

Sounds interesting, but I seriously doubt that anyone would use this.In my opinion if there is someone who really needs this kind of encryption has to afford more advanced solutions that support attachments as well.

jake5983

Can anyone recommend a trusted commercial VPN solution for the Z10, similar to proXPN which unfortunately doesn't work for BlackBerry 10 OS? I see lots of ads but don't trust anything without solid recommendations.

Posted via CB10

gariac

If you search the internet for Vpn and playbook, there are a few vendors that will work. I haven't tried them myself, but you can read the posts from the PlayBook users.

I'm not really sure a VPN service is all that useful unless you are trying to get around some blocking. Your email is secure with TLS. Image links in email are not secured, so if you are the sexting kind, you would need a vpn.

I want a vpn to use services on my network at home, that is a vpn in the router. For me, that has to be OpenVPN. If BlackBerry supported OpenVPN, you could use proXPN.

It is interesting how many Crackberry readers listen to Security Now.

Posted via CB10

jake5983

I've been a Security Now listener since the first podcast. I really like Steve Gibson and the way he explains very technical concepts in a way I can understand.

I'm in Canada but with all the revelations from Snowden and spying on law abiding people, I just want a little privacy from my ISP (on WiFi) and anyone else who is mining my data. Being able to access content that is blocked for me is another major plus.

Thanks for your reply, I appreciate it.

Posted via CB10

Richard Buckley

Using any commercial VPN provider is going to be a leap of faith. How big a leap depends on what you are trying to protect against. I would love to be able to VPN into my home network which uses OpenVPN that I manage. Until that time, I make do with a commercial VPN but only really expect that it will protect me against script kiddies that hang out at Wi-Fi hot spots.

I use Witopia. Their prices are competitive, with ProXPN and they support IPSec on PlayBook and BB10. The one time I needed support it was very good.

BCITMike

"Personal" should be "public".

-typo police

Posted via CB10

Rick Ellis1

Very interesting

Posted from the coolest phone ever. THE BLACKBERRY Z10

Ogbu Onuoha1

Come on man everyone knows the 9900 is the coolest phone ever lol

Posted by Phobe's Owner on the BlackBerry Q10

my webname1

BlackBerry is known for its security features. BlackBerry should concentrate on getting apps that require strong security features like all banks and other financial/ health /other such apps requiring privacy or encryption. Maybe create customizable banking apps for instance so one app can be easily modified for the needs of many banks

Posted via CB10

FijiBB

For ones who use PGP - please check PGpgp
http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/47148895/?lang=en
http://pawelgorny.com/PGpgp/
In case of any problems/questions - please send me PM or email

gariac

Note you need the www in the url.

This looks like a good solution. I'm going to generate a key on my PC, get GPG going, then buy this app.

Posted via CB10

ofutur

We already have standards, no need to re-invent the wheel.
Since BlackBerry is so stubborn and doesn't give users access to email encryption without having to hire an IT team to install and manage the infrastructure required to support BES and encrypt a SINGLE account per device, they should at least provide an API to let developers patch the privacy holes in BB10.

"Snap" is the best stop-gap solution for Android apps while we wait for BlackBerry to get its act together...

akavbb

Downloading which apps with Smime capability? .

Posted via CB10 | STL100-2 | Waiting for the mighty Squircle to return.

Richard Buckley

The only encrypted email system BlackBerry supports is S/Mime. If you use it without BES support (which I have on BBOS devices) you need to provide a key management solution to replace that capability in BES (which I did on BBOS). That is very difficult to get right. PGP at least provides tools to assist user with the key management task. S/Mime on BlackBerry you're choices are BES, LDAP or roll you own. I'm not surprised they tightened usage up to BES only devices.

kjjb0204

Email your keys to each other? Isn't putting the key in an email defeating the purpose of this app completely?

heri16

I would buy if there is attachment support, and if the initial price is broken into addons.

Posted via CB10

Omar Cardona

Sweet article

Posted via CB10