CES 2019: BlackBerry Secure feature packs aspire to give trusted security to 'all smart things'

BlackBerry announced three secure feature packs that will provide companies with trusted software and a proven certification framework to build secure smart products.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

BlackBerry's transition to a security and services-based business took another step forward on Monday, with the unveiling of its new BlackBerry Secure feature packs that it said will make it easier for companies to bring safe and secure Internet of Things (IoT) devices to market.

The company touted its Secure feature packs as providing trusted software and a proven certification framework for companies to securely build smart products -- including health trackers and Alexa-enabled speakers -- so they do not need to develop in-house technology and deep cybersecurity expertise.

BlackBerry will review the device before it is certified as BlackBerry Secure. 

Read: Why BlackBerry should change its name | CNET: BlackBerry wants to make the internet of things safe for you

Blackberry senior vice president and general manager of Mobility Solutions Alex Thurber said that consumers in 2019 will increasingly begin to prioritise products that promise a higher level of security and data privacy.

"IoT device manufacturers can address security and privacy concerns head-on and stand out in the cluttered IoT space by bringing to market ultra-secure products that consumers, retailers, and enterprises want to buy and use," Thurber added.

"This new service is a pivotal point in the company's software licensing strategy and underscores BlackBerry's evolution from providing the most secure smartphones to delivering the trusted security for all smart 'things'."

There are three types of BlackBerry Secure feature packs available for OEMS, which provide various levels of management and control, according to BlackBerry.

The first is the Enablement Feature Pack which offers a manufacturing station that provides a hardware Root of Trust and is connected to the BlackBerry's network operation centre. During manufacturing, a BlackBerry Secure Identity Service Key is injected into the hardware and recorded on a secure server. Both at launch and periodically throughout the product's lifecycle, checks are performed to verify that the two keys match. If they do not, the device no longer boots.  


The second is the Foundations Feature Pack which BlackBerry said allows for encryption keys to be generated, used, and stored for various software operations. It also generates real-time health reports that can be accessed by users and trusted third-party applications.  

Finally, Blackberry is also releasing its Secure Enterprise Feature Pack, aimed at devices that will be used in regulated or restricted environments.

BlackBerry's shift to IoT and enterprise software has been paying off, with the company's software and services department experiencing eight to 10 percent growth in Q3 of 2018 from the year prior.

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