The Curious Case Of BlackBerry

From a common man to a business tycoon to the American president, there are a large number of people around the world who prefer BlackBerry. It’s because of this worldwide acceptance of BlackBerry as the best smart phone that the news of its issues has been so dominant in the past weeks and led to financial losses for the BlackBerry makers- Research In Motion (RIM).

BlackBerry is one of those smartphones with which you can do almost anything that you can do with a computer/laptop. Mail, phone, maps, organizer, applications, games, the Internet and more. Some smartphones even include a media player and/or camera so you really have everything you need in one stylish device. The BlackBerry solution supports leading enterprise email platforms and can be customized to meet the needs of one person or an entire enterprise, to any scale, in any industry. Maybe this dynamism in BB(BlackBerry) is what making it more venerable to the hackers who find different layers to breach BB security. And now the security processes necessary for a BB are becoming the major headache for its parent company RIM(Research In Motion).

The Indian government’s fear that the national security maybe compromised with BB cannot be ridiculed immediately. BlackBerry emails don’t go over the internet. They are first encrypted to be secured on the device and then routed through its own secure servers. The BB makers RIM is a US based company and it is known that the US authorities can seek a court order to tap BlackBerry traffic, giving them access to messages sent over the network. While the officials with Research in Motion declined to talk about how they provide such access, it is possible that the government provides such requests directly to RIM’s customers. The answer to the limit of US government access in BB is till now unclear. Nobody is talking specifics, with one exception: In the case of Saudi Arabia, the government says it only wants access to RIM’s consumer-focused BlackBerry Messenger service. A spokesperson for RIM did not respond to a request for information on how the company secures that particular service.

One thinks of how RIM or any government can have access to any message that I write. The answer is relatively simple- all that authorities need to put is an eavesdropping box on the BlackBerry server, whether run by RIM itself or one of its customers, that has the key for descrambling the messages and they will have your message. So the new found BB threat to our security cannot be ignored as of now.

The effect of this just “proposed” ban on BB from India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia can be easily seen on RIM’s shares in the market which lost $2.7 billion in just two days. These bans might and will effect BB operations worldwide and its market with severe competition from iPhone and Google Android which have no such issues.

The solution lies in providing a US like BB device access to other countries’ governments by installing a local mini server so that the data is routed locally in the country and not through RIM servers abroad.
Though the government has recently extended RIM’s deadline with a probable chance of RIM winning its case, the threat of security looms by the day with conditions getting from bad to worse.


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