Ottawa warns federal workers not to believe a BlackBerry Security :)

Posted: 28/02/2013 in Uncategorized

The federal department charged with overseeing cyber-security has warned its workers to think twice before sending a BlackBerry message, suggesting that the device believed to be the most secure in the world is more vulnerable than users may believe.

The one-page policy memo from Public Safety Canada, updated in mid-January, attempts to dissuade government BlackBerry users from sending a PIN-to-PIN message largely because it could be read by any BlackBerry user, anywhere in the world. The messages are “the most vulnerable method of communicating on a BlackBerry,” a Public Safety Canada presentation says.

The documents, released to Postmedia News under the access to information act, say PIN-to-PIN messaging isn’t “suitable for exchanging sensitive messages” because protected or classified information could be inadvertently leaked, or a mobile user could inadvertently download malware or viruses that would compromise their phone.

Almost two-thirds of federal government mobile users in Canada prefer to use the BlackBerry, with the remaining one-third using either Apple’s iPhone or Google’s Android. The concentration of BlackBerry users is even more pronounced among federal politicians, with most cabinet ministers opting to use the BlackBerry. Even NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has said he carries an extra BlackBerry battery to keep his mobile device from dying during the day.

Political staffers use the device as well, regularly sending PIN-to-PIN messages and emails as government business has progressively migrated to mobile devices.

“Although PIN-to-PIN messages are encrypted, the key used is a global cryptographic ‘key’ that is common to every BlackBerry device all over the world,” the memo reads. “Any BlackBerry device can potentially decrypt all PIN-to-PIN messages sent by any other BlackBerry device.”

The PIN, or Personal Identification Number, is an electronic address given to a device. When a user turns in the device, the PIN stays with it and doesn’t follow the user to a new BlackBerry.

– See more at: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/BlackBerry+secure+believed+Ottawa+warns+federal+workers/8022072/story.html#sthash.TuMzSiMU.dpuf

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