British government says BlackBerry 10 not secure enough yet

The British government has yet to approve the new BlackBerry 10 mobile OS, saying it is not secure enough over BlackBerry version 7.1 for government work, The Guardian reports.

Launched at the end of January, BlackBerry 10 is said to bring several security enhancements over the previous version, but that's not the case according to UK's Computer Experts Security Group. BlackBerry is reportedly working with the CESG to get the order revised through a new software update. 

One of the biggest security features on the BlackBerry is its Balance technology that is designed to separate work and personal info in a secure manner. Work info is kept away from personal apps and vice versa. With the Balance feature in place, the CESG didn't go into specifics on what it thinks is wrong with BlackBerry 10.

The BlackBerry Z10 launched in the UK in February, and the Qwerty-packed BlackBerry Q10 will launch sometime in mid-April. The devices are thought to be BlackBerry's saving grace, so a denial by a large government could mean a missed chance for revenue.

"We are continuing to work closely with CESG on the approval of BlackBerry 10 and we're confident that BlackBerry 10 will only strengthen our position as the mobile solution of choice for the UK government," the company told The Guardian in a statement. Interestingly, BlackBerry 10 was certified by the US government and the German Procurement Office and Federal Office for Information Security. 

When announcing the US approval last year, BlackBerry (formally RIM) bragged: “What differentiates BlackBerry is that it integrates end-to-end security, and includes certified encryption algorithms for data at rest and data in transit. No other mobile solution has achieved the level of security accreditation that the BlackBerry solution has.”

In other BlackBerry news, the Z10 handset launches in the US in late-March.

UPDATE: BlackBerry has been in touch with us and issued the following statement:

"Media reports alleging that BlackBerry 10 has been ‘rejected’ for U.K. government use are both false and misleading. BlackBerry has a long-established relationship with CESG and we remain the only mobile solution approved for use at 'Restricted' when configured in accordance with CESG guidelines.

"This level of approval only comes following a process which is rigorous and absolutely necessary given the highly confidential nature of the communications being transmitted.

"The current restructuring of this approval process, due to the Government Protective Marking Scheme review and the new CESG Commercial Product Assurance scheme has an impact on the timeline for BlackBerry 10 to receive a similar level of approval.

"The US government’s FIPS 140-2 certification of BlackBerry 10 and the selection of BlackBerry 10 by the German Procurement Office and Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) underline how our new platform continues to set the standard for government communications.

"We are continuing to work closely with CESG on the approval of BlackBerry 10 and we’re confident that BlackBerry 10 will only strengthen our position as the mobile solution of choice for the U.K. government.”

UPDATE 2: CESG has issued the following statement:

"Discussions with BlackBerry are ongoing about the use of the BlackBerry 10 platform in government. We have not yet performed an evaluation of the security of the platform, but we expect to be issuing Platform Guidance in the summer. This will cover a number of platforms, including BlackBerry 10 (and the use of 'Balance').

"We have a long-standing security partnership with BlackBerry, and this gives us confidence that the BlackBerry 10 platform is likely to represent a viable solution for UK Government."



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