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January 19, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 9:58am

BlackBerry hits back at Dutch police hack, devices are ‘as secure as ever’

News: Company also reassures customers that there are no backdoors in any BlackBerry devices.

By CBR Staff Writer

BlackBerry has hit back at reports that claimed Dutch police had been able to crack the encryption protecting e-mails and other information on its devices.

Earlier this month, Dutch police told the BBC that they had decrypted messages on BlackBerry’s smartphones modified by third parties.

The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) said it is able to read messages sent from BlackBerry devices protected with PGP encryption.

It was reported that the NFI was able to interpret 279 out of the 325 encrypted messages stored on a BlackBerry PGP device.

The company said in a blog post that it does not have any information on the particular device in focus, neither any configuration related details and the nature of the communications that are claimed to have been decrypted.

BlackBerry said: "If such an information recovery did happen, access to this information from a BlackBerry device could be due to factors unrelated to how the BlackBerry device was designed, such as user consent, an insecure third party application, or deficient security behavior of the user.

"Furthermore, there are no backdoors in any BlackBerry devices, and BlackBerry does not store and therefore cannot share BlackBerry device passwords with law enforcement or anyone else."

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The company noted that if users follow recommended practices, its devices remain as secure and private as they have always been.

Last month, BlackBerry reported its first quarter-to-quarter revenue increase in over two years. For the third quarter ending 28 November 2015, the company reported a loss of $89m, or 17 cents per share, compared to $148m, or 28 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue dropped 31% to $548m in Q3 from $793m a year earlier, but increased 12% from the earlier quarter, following nine continuous quarters of declines.

The company released Priv by BlackBerry, its first Android smartphone, in November last year. It carries a 5.4 inch display, runs on Android Lollipop and Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, and has 3GB RAM.

The device claims to combine BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform.

The Priv is the first device that BlackBerry has sold that does not run on its own operating system (OS). Currently this OS has only 0.2% of the global market.


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