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BlackBerry could solve Android's security issues

BlackBerry could solve Android's security issues
EVAN BLASS

If you haven't been using BlackBerry's smartphones for a while, you're not alone. In fact, these days the once mighty cellphone leader accounts for just 0.3% of smartphone sales.

BlackBerry is still around, though, and that is a good thing. At least it is if you're concerned about security and your privacy. BlackBerry has long been among the most secure devices available.

That will likely include its new PRIV (short for private), its first Android phone. In fact, the company's security chief says PRIV will be the most secure Android device available, saying "it's second to none in the industry."

First, a little background. The 1 billion or so Google Android devices around the world have had a terrible year when it comes to security. Notably, that includes the Stagefright bug, which took over devices via text messages and other methods.

Worse, Google and the University of Cambridge recently noted that around 87% of Android devices are vulnerable to attack. Part of the problem is that many Android devices are made by third-party manufacturers, some of whom don't take security as seriously as others.

BlackBerry now has an Android phone, and pretty stringent plans to make sure they're secure. That starts with being diligent, according to BlackBerry's Chief Security Officer, David Kleidermacher.

In a recent blog, Kleidermacher wrote: "BlackBerry's security research team is constantly examining the firmware and software content in new releases to locate and address even more Android problems before they cause harm."

He outlined detailed plans:

1. Monthly security patches. Each month, Google issues newly discovered vulnerabilities to manufacturers one month before alerting the public to them. BlackBerry will issue patches before the public is made aware of these vulnerabilities.

"BlackBerry will release these monthly updates to users that have purchased PRIV through shopblackberry.com and to PRIV resellers," he wrote.

2. Hotfix. If a security problem is bad enough that consumers can't wait for BlackBerry's monthly patches, depending on how complex the problem is, BlackBerry will push out coding to fix a specific problem.

3. Enterprise-Managed Updates. BlackBerry will allow companies to control the distribution of security patches through its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES).

What do you think? Will BlackBerry's plans to keep its Android devices secure make you consider buying a PRIV? Let us know in comments.

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Source: The Register
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