Your Android device is probably really, really bad at protecting your privacy, says BlackBerry. But have no fear, the Waterloo-based company says its new Priv device fixes the issue.
BlackBerry’s David Kleidermacher, writing for the company’s blog Friday, cited a recent study from researchers at Cambridge University that found almost nine out of 10 Android devices are exposed to a critical vulnerability that puts customer’s communications and personal data at risk.
“It’s not a good situation,” wrote Kleidermacher. “However, we at BlackBerry think we can do better. PRIV™ by BlackBerry® will bring BlackBerry mobile privacy, security and productivity to the Android world. With full access to Google Mobile Services, the Google Play app store, the latest hardware specs, and a revolutionary slide-out, touch-enabled keyboard, PRIV offers a no-compromise user experience to privacy-minded consumers and enterprises.”
Kleidermacher says the Priv is more secure because BlackBerry has “performed extensive surgery under the hood to augment Android’s privacy and security capabilities”. These include the company’s patented picture-login, WatchDox private file sharing, BBM Meetings private conferences, and SecuSUITE private voice calls. Kleidermacher also notes that the device employs certified cryptography from BlackBerry Certicom.
BlackBerry hired mobile security and Internet of Things expert Kleidermacher in February. Kleidermacher is the author of the book ““Embedded Systems Security: Practical Methods for Safe and Secure Software and Systems Development”.
“David’s knowledge of securing the Internet of Things and embedded systems will be invaluable as we execute on our strategy and continue to expand our management of the world’s mobile endpoints,” said CEO John Chen at the time of Kleidermacher’s hiring.
The Priv is a soon-to-be released Android phone that reportedly runs Android Lollipop 5.1.1., has a curved screen, and a slider keyboard.
Rather than open up a new era of hardware-based business for the once notable device maker, Chen has become increasingly open about the idea that there may very well be a future in which BlackBerry doesn’t make phones at all, but instead focuses on opportunities in the the Mobile device management/Enterprise mobility management space (MDM/EMM) and in the the Internet of Things market, where BlackBerry intends to use its famous encryption to secure the billions of connected devices coming online.
“Sometime next year we have to make our device business profitable, otherwise I have to rethink what I do there,” Chen told Ina Fried and Walter Mossberg at the Code/Mobile conference at the The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California last week. “My job is to make sure the value of the company is protected and increases. Even if I’m not in the handset business, getting into providing security for Android lets us provide solutions via software.”