Memo warns federal workers in Canada about BlackBerry messaging

Summary:BlackBerry might not be as secure as believed -- even in the company's home country of Canada.

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Just as the Department of Defense is working to open its networks to iOS and Android mobile devices, a new report reveals that Canadian federal workers are being warned about potential security holes on BlackBerry.

See also: Symantec chief: Security about more than 'shiny new objects'

According to Canada.com, Public Safety Canada -- the federal agency that manages cyber-security within the government -- issued a memo back in January with a severe warning to government employees about PIN-to-PIN messaging.

Not mincing words, Public Safety Canada said that it found this form of mobile communication "to be the most vulnerable method of communicating on a BlackBerry." Here's more:

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.

This is a startling statement given BlackBerry's reputation for offering what could have been thought of as the most secure mobile platform worldwide, which was the Waterloo, Ontario-based corporation's last saving grace -- at least ahead of the pending launch of BlackBerry 10 .

Frankly, this memo couldn't come at a worse time for Blackberry, which was formerly known as Research In Motion until the mobile device maker rebranded itself in January .

Not only is the company banking everything on the upcoming release of its new mobile operating system and handhelds to go with it in the face of global domination over the mobile market by Apple and Google's Android ecosystem.

But again, this follows the news that the Pentagon is moving on from BlackBerry in response to current mobile trends to equip and support its employees that want to use iOS and Android devices -- effectively removing the near-monopoly BlackBerry had over the home base of the U.S. military.

To put that into perspective, Bloomberg cited that the DoD has more than 600,000 mobile devices in circulation -- of which 470,000 them run on BlackBerry OS while iOS accounts for 41,000 devices and Android covers approximately 8,700.

Topics: Security, BlackBerry, Government, Mobility, Smartphones

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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