UK intelligence agency 'recommends' BlackBerry for security; iPhones still banned

Summary:A UK intelligence agency says the BlackBerry is secure enough to run in government. But who falls short on the security scale? The iPhone; still banned in government.

GCHQ's Communications and Electronics Security Group (CESG), part of the UK's intelligence agency network, which tests security for government departments and their devices, says that the BlackBerry device is secure enough for government operations.

Last year, the UK Government banned iPhones in all departments because CESG could verify its security and therefore cannot approve the device to handle sensitive government documents.

iPhones are still banned in government, because they are simply not secure enough, or not yet proved to be as such.

Specifically, the security aspect falls to BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which operates the corporate, non-consumer email solution, where India and many other countries with internal and domestic terrorism troubles are trying to ban.

No specific guidance has yet been issued for tablet devices. But, if the PlayBook offers the same level of encryption and security that the BlackBerry smartphone does, no doubt CESG will offer similar, if not the same level of guidance.

Government issued BlackBerrys use 3DES and AES for data traffic and AES to encrypt local data, assuring that data up to 'RESTRICTED' is protected from prying eyes and thefts; data that is not too damaging to national security or ongoing operations. 

If the BlackBerry is secure enough for the British government, it's certainly secure enough for businesses. Perhaps this in itself finally quells the long running myth that 'governments can tap into smartphones'. Certainly not all, it seems.

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Topics: Mobile OS, BlackBerry, Hardware, Mobility, Security

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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