India's government: At last, we've cracked Blackberry's encryption

India's government: At last, we've cracked Blackberry's encryption

Summary: Following India's threat to shut down the Blackberry network in the country unless Research in Motion allows the government to snoop on Blackberry users made earlier this year, the country seems to have found a more pragmatic solution, and in a surprising move has publicly announced that they have finally managed to crack Blackberry's encryption :"The government has decrypted the data on Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry networks.

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TOPICS: Security, BlackBerry
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BlackBerry Enterprise ServiceFollowing India's threat to shut down the Blackberry network in the country unless Research in Motion allows the government to snoop on Blackberry users made earlier this year, the country seems to have found a more pragmatic solution, and in a surprising move has publicly announced that they have finally managed to crack Blackberry's encryption :

"The government has decrypted the data on Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry networks. The department of telecommunication (DoT), Intelligence Bureau and security agency National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) have done tests on service providers such as Bharti Airtel, BPL Mobile, Reliance Communications and Vodafone-Essar networks for interception of Internet messages from BlackBerry to non-BlackBerry devices.

Initially, there were difficulties in cracking the same on Vodafone-Essar network but that has also been solved. This means that the e-mail messages sent on Internet through your BlackBerry sets would no longer be exclusive and government would be able to track them."

They either need to decompress, or emphasize on the fact that their efforts cannot affect BlackBerry Enterprise Service users.

The government's "decompression tests" seems not to be affecting enterprise Blackberry solutions, but now that it's becoming clear that they're requiring all local telecoms to "make technical changes in their services to make them compatible for decompression", the tests indicate that the government is on purposely weakening the security of transmitted data across the country.

Taking into consideration the multi-layered end-to-end encryption that a Blackberry user can archive, India's claims to be able to eavesdrop Internet traffic of BlackBerry Internet Service, but naturally still unable to crack BlackBerry Enterprise Service's end-to-end AES or Triple DES, doesn't really count as cracking Blackberry's encryption.

Topics: Security, BlackBerry

Dancho Danchev

About Dancho Danchev

Dancho Danchev is an independent security consultant and cyber threats analyst, with extensive experience in open source intelligence gathering, malware and cybercrime incident response.

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8 comments
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  • what rights?

    Each Governments never ending search to control... everything!!
    dragon@...
  • the US requires by law that manufactures allow them to snoop...

    i work for a large multinational manufacture of telecom
    equipment and... not sure people realize this.. but by law
    manufactures of equipment used by US carriers have to
    implement such that US law enforcement can eavesdrop... not
    saying it's a good thing, but i guess India wants the same rights
    that it's US partners in the fight against terrorism have.

    just incase you didn't realize it... none of your telephone calls,
    emails, text messages are safe from the prying eyes of US law
    government/enforcement... and this is by matter of law that
    they have the right to snoop.
    doctorSpoc
    • Hold up

      They DON'T have the RIGHT to snoop. They have made people think that it's okay for them to if they "don't have anything to hide" and passed a piece of unconstitutional legislation to back them up and give them the power (note POWER, not RIGHT) to conduct illegal searches on the suspicion of terrorism, but not requiring enough evidence to obtain a proper warrant, which was already plenty easy to get through FISA.

      Citizens DO have the following RIGHT:
      [i]The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
      -Constitution of the United States of America, Amendment 4[/i]

      Don't act like they have the right. They don't. They took rights from the citizens to give themselves power. That's not the same thing.
      laura.b
      • i hear you.. and i'm with you...

        just wanted to put it out there that this is not anything unique to
        the Indian government..

        don't think that most people know that by law US carriers and their
        vendors by have to provide US law enforcement/government the
        master keys to your phone calls, emails, text messages etc... no
        hacking, they can basically just log in... they are supposed to obtain
        a warrant... but of course G. Dubbaya doesn't think he should have
        bother him with the hassles of obtaining a warrant.

        they want to be able to snoop on there citizens just as the US is
        able and does snoop on theirs
        doctorSpoc
        • Oh, no doubt

          I follow, and I hope I didn't come off as short with [b]you[/b]. Just felt it's always good to get the info out there.

          Keep fighting the good fight, man.
          laura.b
  • RE: India's government: At last, we've cracked Blackberry's encryption

    I don't understand, does this mean that they can sniff the messages from a Blackberry device to non-Blackberry device but not from Blackberry to Blackberry?

    It doesn't make sense since most mail servers dublicte the message to both Blackberry mailbox and PC mailbox (e.g. Outlook)?
    kahramane@...
    • RE: India's government: At last, we've cracked Blackberry's encryption

      @kahramane@... Blackberry to Blackberry messages ... are not necessarily email...and when handled by Blackberry Enterprise Servers... they haven't found a way to break in.

      However, when email from a third party comes to a Blackberry... like gmail or yahoo mail or other non BES email.. they can get them... Which is totally not a reflection upon Blackberry only that those services aren't as secure as Blackberry BES is....to which I say DUH.
      condelirios
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