BlackBerry has been on top of the handset industry for quite some time thanks to its hyped end-to-end encryption protocols.
The said encryption has led to the platform’s popularity among security firms and other government offices not just in Canada, but also in the United States and other countries across the globe. While the song has been that BlackBerry provides the tightest end-to-end encryption, it seems the Canadian company has finally met its match in the shape of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
BlackBerry is currently in a huge financial crisis as its mobile division seems to be stuck. Last year the company ditched its own BB10 OS in favor of Android when rolling out the BlackBerry Priv. The same is set to happen this year, with the company promising to release two Android-powered mid-rangers in the course of the year. With the company still unsettled in the Android niche, the latest reports by Motherboard that the RCMP have actually been able to intercept and decrypt over a million BlackBerry messages in a period of two years.
Even though the company says that its platform is the most secure as far as any hacking is concerned, it happens that it has a flaw. According to the discovery, the RCMP probably took advantage of a loophole in the platform where all non-corporate phones manufactured by BlackBerry come with a uniform encryption key. Once one has this key, intercepting and decrypting messages on any BlackBerry phone becomes as easy as ABC for any hacker. However, the Canadian authorities have yet to disclose how they have been managing to pull the strings or even how they got hold of the key.
In the past, decrypting any BlackBerry device required physical access to the phone. However, the RCMP had a different ways of doing things. What they did is set up a server that simulates the intended recipient of a given message and uses the earlier-mentioned uniform key to decrypt the messages. This is what has been helping with the just-ended investigations into the Project Clemenza case.
For now, the case is over. However, this doesn’t mean that the RCMP cannot keep on intercepting and decrypting BlackBerry messages. This can still happen with almost every BB phone.
With BB10’s future already in a huge doubt after the company announced that it won’t be rolling out any new device powered by this OS, the news that the platform is not as secure as always thought may add salt to injury as the Canadian company still looks for ways back into smartphone world.