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August 16, 2009

RIM unveils new BlackBerry Smart Card Reader

AES-256 encryption to offer secure pairing and communication

By CBR Staff Writer

Research In Motion (RIM) has unveiled a new BlackBerry Smart Card Reader model, which uses Bluetooth 2.0 technology with AES-256 encryption to enable secure pairing and communication between the readers, BlackBerry smartphones, computers and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) applications.

The new BlackBerry Smart Card Reader features a larger display and backlighting, and weighs 2.26 oz. It supports Bluetooth pairing PINs with both characters (symbols, letters, capital letters) and numbers.

According to RIM, the new Smart Card Reader, when used with the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution, offers additional security options for IT administrators. It enables IT administrators to set up handset passwords to work only if the Reader is within range. Once paired via Bluetooth, the BlackBerry smartphone will automatically lock if it is out of range of the reader.

RIM said that the Smart Card Reader can be used by the organisations as a security accessory for BlackBerry smartphones, even if the organisations do not use smart cards. It allows IT administrators to gain control over the wireless environment with the ability to wirelessly manage security key lifetimes on the BlackBerry Smart Card Reader through BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

The new reader supports all ISO 7816 compliant smart cards and provides out of the box support for Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards, Common Access Cards (CAC) and Safenet 330 cards, the company said.

Scott Totzke, vice president of BlackBerry security group at RIM, said: “The BlackBerry Smart Card Reader provides security-conscious organisations with another powerful tool for controlling access to computers and BlackBerry smartphones. This new model of the BlackBerry Smart Card Reader further builds upon the security, flexibility and mobility of the trusted BlackBerry Enterprise Solution.”

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