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This is how BlackBerry managed to secure Android with the PRIV


BlackBerry has long been (and likely will be for a while) one of the most secure communication platforms on earth. There’s a reason top government bodies, financial institutes and corporations still hand BlackBerry phones out to employees. Virtually everything about the phones is secure; from hardware and device management, to software and communications. With BES12 (BlackBerry Enterprise Services), the company also worked hard to bring similar protection to Android. This development was the groundwork which lead the company to launch its very first Android smartphone, the PRIV…

In an official blog post, BlackBerry details exactly how it made the entire handset secure:

  • BlackBerry’s Hardware Root of Trust, a unique manufacturing process that injects cryptographic keys into the device hardware, providing a secure foundation for the entire platform.
  • Verified Boot and Secure Bootchain, which uses the embedded keys to verify every layer of the device from hardware to OS to applications in order to make sure they haven’t been tampered with.
  • A hardened Linux kernel with numerous patches and configuration changes to improve security.
  • FIPS 140-2 compliant full disk encryption on by default to protect your privacy.
  • The BlackBerry Infrastructure, a secure distributed global network that transmits petabytes of encrypted data to and from the world’s most powerful leaders and professionals.
  • BES12, the leading Enterprise Mobility Management platform used by the world’s most powerful governments and corporations.

It’s no surprise to see BlackBerry lauding its upcoming handset’s security features. The company’s chief stated a few months ago that they would only build an Android phone if they could make it secure. What’s more, with so many Android phones out there without any high-end baked-in security, the BlackBerry PRIV has a strong unique selling feature.

Of course, it does have another: The keyboard. For years, the Android market has been completely devoid of a flagship device with a built-in physical keyboard. The closest thing we’ve had recently is Samsung’s clip-on keyboard accessory for the Galaxy Note 5, which makes it look like an old Sony Ericsson smartphone from years ago.

The BlackBerry PRIV is already available to pre-order in the UK, and customers from other markets can register for updates. We’re expecting retail launch to get in to full swing by the time the holiday season arrives.

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