Weekend Contest: “How secure is BlackBerry?”

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Tetris baby, yeah!

Wow, guys. We threw down the gauntlet last week with our Weekend Contest challenge, and boy did you ever deliver. No less than 20 comments! And all of them at a very high quality (well, except for RIM ROCKS…). So this week, we tried our best to get a special prize for ya: none other than a free copy of Handmark’s recently released Tetris for BlackBerry (of which a review will go up today — as soon as we’re done writing it!).

So what do you have to do to win it? You have to talk to us about security. BlackBerry security, Windows Mobile security, security. Is BlackBerry more secure than its competitors, and how much does it matter to you? Do you need high-end security in your daily life, or are you fine as long as email works? Post a comment and let us know. LAST WEEK’S WINNER was nm156, who recognized that if the Pearl is a consumer device, then RIM is going to need to do more than excite the CrackBerry crowd. It’s call TV ads RIM; get on it.

  • moog
    Drat! So close! :)
  • admin
    Moog: The winner was nm156. But you could have easily won it yourself; it was a super tough decision!

    Post a comment for this contest and give it another go!
  • Melissa Ox
    I think BBs are plenty secure for me. I use my password when it sits idle too long, but atleast I know all the stuff I keep on it is safe if it is away from me.
    Simply put, I lose no sleep over how secure my BB is... my PC on the other hand, well not always the same.
  • JimBob
    I think the difference between BlackBerry and the other mobile communication solutions is that security was something that was designed in from day one. The device was first designed to be used by people valued their privacy and data over the convenience of the mobility. Other solutions are not designed this way, and thus security becomes an after-thought; a patchwork of tweaks that attempt to solve a problem on an existing system.

    Specifics of what makes the BlackBerry so secure are:
    - The data to and from the device is encrypted end to end
    - The data is encripted on the device itself (if someone opens the device and probes the harware to read what's on the memory chip, they'll find encrypted data)
    - If the password is entered wrong 10 times, the device automatically erases all data
    - The administrator can remotly instruct a device to erase all it's data and go offline, for when it's reported stolen for example
    - The e-mail system supports PGP and SMIME to assure that you know who sent it to you, that it hasn't been tampered with and that only you can read it

    Just have a look at what device the NSA, CIA, FBI, Senate, House of Reps, White House, Pentagon all use... I bet it's no Treo :P
  • moog
    Did you ever announce who won last week's contest?
  • Marco
    security for me is not a big issue because i mean how many people are really going to go thru all the the trouble to try to get into someone's server after Rim has already said that there 4.1 os is set up to stop anything like that from happening
  • Solomon
    Security is a term thrown around quite broadly these days. Generically it is something you are (e.g. biometric), something you know (e.g. password) or something you have (e.g. physical key).

    All portable devices suffer from potential theft or loss which could expose organizations to large amounts of data theft. In many ways, physical security is better on some Windows Mobile models: HP units that have a finger biometric reader right on the unit come to mind.

    Enterprise users may be more attracted to the data security side of things. Blackberry's design, particularly with the use of a BES, is far more superior on data security because of the administrator capabilities to lock out a unit and its data should one be lost or stolen. While on board data, such as the future camera pictures from the 8100 will still be accessible, server control of units is attractive to paranoid enterprise managers.

    More importantly because data on a blackberry is optimized for mobile users, the risks of eavesdropping on data streams is somewhat reduced as well because the loads of data are smaller. For example, if you forward an email with a 5Mb attachemnt, the blackberry device is not actually transmitting the original email nor attachment...but rather this is safely within the confines of a server. Windows Mobile on the other hand is designed with having 100% of the attachment and text flowing in and out of the device.

    When Blackberry allows WiFi connections on board, this debate will be restarted of course to deal with the potential device hacking that may result!
  • Albert
    Blackberry as a complete solution is much more capable of being secure than any other always on portable connected device. The blackberry enterprise server allows you to lock down many features on the device, even external web browsing on the device.

    The ability to out of the box encrypt both e-mail and contents of the device, and also to utilize 3rd party PKI and SMIME means right now Blackberry is the most secure solution available
  • Melissa
    In my life my Blackberry is just a toy. I really do use it only for email, internet surfing, and looking up movietimes and maps. If someone did get into it all they'd find is my Mom's phone number and my boyfriend's birthday.

    That being said, I hope that my accountant or lawyer doesn't take the same view of their blackberry as I do mine. I hope that they are using encryption and passwords and hooked up to some type of alarm that starts beeping if they leave they leave it behind at lunch. The truth is that our biggest security threats don't come from the shadowy hackers or organized gangs of ID thives but from disgruntled former employees or cheesed off exes. The people we trust with our information will always be more dangerous then the unknown others.
  • Nick
    So here's my biggest problem with secuirty, not only with Blackberries, but any other portable device.

    I know A LOT of people who don't have power-on passwords, or enable the auto-lock features of their devices. So essentially, you can have the best and most expensive email encryption standards implemented. By loosing your device, you render all those standards useless.

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