BlackBerry users running the latest version of RIM’s operating system can now feel extra secure that the data on their phones is safe from prying eyes, as the US Government just awarded BB OS 6.0 Federal Information Processing Standard certification.
The FIPS 140-2 certification for BlackBerry devices is nothing new, as the government’s been reviewing the software for years. Each time it changes, though, it has to go back through the process to make sure that it’s still handling data in a secure manner.
Specifically, the folks at the National Institute of Standards and Technology who created these certifications as part of the Cryptographic Module Validation Program are interested in the part of the BlackBerry kernel that handles encryption and decryption of your data.
With the FIPS 140-2 seal of approval, government employees can store and transfer material considered Sensitive But Unclassified with their BlackBerry 6.0 smartphones. While that’s not quite up to snuff for handling anything juicy like missile launch codes, there are strict restrictions as to how SBU data moves around, so the cryptographic kernel needs to be solid.