Crypto card means Blackberry is Classified secure

5 March 2013
Bryan Betts
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SecuSuite automatically applies 128-bit AES encryption to BlackBerry 10 devices.

Security firm Secusmart has developed a crypto plug-in for the Blackberry 10 smartphone which, it claims, turns it into the first widely-available smartphone to meet government-level Classified security levels.

The company is showing the device at the CeBIT 2013 trade fair in Hannover, German, this week; it also announced its first customer: the German federal government.

Called SecuSuite, the device fits into the handset's microSD memory card slot and includes encryption and PKI (public key infrastructure) technology, plus regular expansion memory for data storage, says its inventor Dr Christophe Erdmann. He adds it builds upon existing sandbox technology within the smartphone called Blackberry Balance; this allows personal and business usage to be cleanly separated from the hardware up and has already been approved by NATO and others for the lower Restricted security level.

Once activated, SecuSuite seamlessly applies 128-bit AES encryption to data communications on the Blackberry 10's business facet, including email, Voice-over-IP, text messaging and calendaring, while leaving unchanged those on its personal side, such as Facebook and Twitter. If for instance you have two Blackberry Messenger accounts, one for work and one personal, it will encrypt the former, but not the latter, Erdmann says.

Two SecuSuite-equipped phones will negotiate encryption during call set-up, alternatively a government or business user would have decryption technology alongside their secure PBX private phone exchgange, says Secusmart managing director Dr Hans-Christophe Quelle.

A secure Blackberry 10 incorporating the chip costs around €2500 (£2,150) said Quelle. He explains that while this might sound a lot when the basic handset is around £500 SIM-free in the UK, current high-security encrypting phones are considerably more expensive than this.

Erdmann said that Blackberry Balance's top-to-bottom security model was a prerequisite for the technology, and that he could not implement SecuSuite on other mobile platforms, as they do not have equivalently secure foundations.

More information:

www.secusmart.com

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