BlackBerry’s effort to expand and monetize its well-known security reputation to text messaging launches today.
The company announced that BBM Protected, the first solution in its eBBM Suite for secure enterprise-class messaging, is now available.
BBM Protected can be used on BlackBerry smartphones running BB0S 6.0 or later or BlackBerry 10 in Regulated mode. Versions of BBM Protected for BlackBerry 10 smartphones using BlackBerry Balance and iOS and Android devices are expected later this year. Both sender and receiver have to have BBM Protected enabled on their devices for the system to work.
BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), an instant messaging app was introduced in 2005 and instantly gained wide popularity as a way of sending fast messages, with roughly 85 million users worldwide today. As part of its attempt to broaden the appeal of the service, BlackBerry has enabled it to be used on Apple iOS and Android devices and is rolling out new services to gain revenue from them. BBM Protected is the first.
BBM Proteced uses Triple DES 168-bit scrambling key to encrypt messages, with a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic library to generate the keys. FIPS 140-2 is a standard accepted by the Canadian and U.S. governments for certain secure communications. BlackBerry also says BBM Protected chats work between organizations with BES servers.