BlackBerry to carry DOD security

The company that makes BlackBerry handheld devices is working with the National Security Agency to meet the Defense Department's needs for the increased security of the Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) standard, the company said.

The announcement from Research In Motion (RIM) Ltd. that its BlackBerry products will support the standard comes as the Defense Department is nearing the release of its new wireless security policy, possibly as soon as this week.

S/MIME allows for secure communications among individuals in different organizations running different e-mail systems, RIM officials said.

The standard augments the security and authentication of e-mail messages even after they leave an organization's e-mail system and uses public-key cryptography to provide writer-to-reader security, including confidentiality, message integrity and sender authentication, company officials said.

RIM's BlackBerry already supports Triple Data Encryption Standard e-mail protection and Federal Information Processing Standard 140-1 certification.

"RIM will now be able to meet the Department of Defense requirement for S/MIME and [public-key infrastructure] support," said Don Morrison, RIM's chief operating officer.

The company said it will provide NSA with a customized version of BlackBerry software with S/MIME support. The agency will deploy the software on wireless handhelds used by various government organizations, including DOD.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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