International Espionage: Blackberry banned to French Officials

25/06/2007 Written by Alberto Redi (halfmoon)

 French offi­cials aren’t any longer allowed to use Black­berry to send and receive e-​mails because of secu­rity con­cerns, the news­pa­per Le Monde reports .

The fear for poten­tial espi­onage activ­i­ties - specif­i­cally, snoop­ing by the U.S. National Secu­rity Agency (NSA)- con­vinced French author­i­ties to for­bid the use of Black­berry devices in min­istries and in other gov­ern­men­tal areas.A sim­i­lar warn­ing had been already released 18 months ago by France’s Gen­eral Sec­re­tariat for National Defense.

The warn­ing was based on a study by French head of eco­nomic intel­li­gence, point­ing out the secu­rity threats brought about Blackberries.

RIM, the com­pany pro­duc­ing Black­berry devices, imme­di­ately answered that Black­berry solu­tions are granted by secure encryp­tion codes : “No one, includ­ing RIM, has the abil­ity to view the con­tent of any data com­mu­ni­ca­tion sent using the Black­Berry Enter­prise Solu­tion because all the data is encrypted using 256-​bit Advanced Encryp­tion Stan­dard (AES) encryp­tion, and the ori­gin of the e-​mails can­not be traced or ana­lyzed for con­tent,” it added.

In spite of the doubt that are often expressed about the effec­tive­ness of Blackberry’s secu­rity pro­tec­tions, many offi­cial insti­tu­tions chose it as the solu­tion for wire­less trans­mis­sion of sen­si­tive and clas­si­fied data. NATO, the UK Gov­ern­ment, and secu­rity agen­cies in the USA, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Aus­tria and Canada are among them.

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