If there is one thing that BlackBerry is known for, it would be their security. This is why despite BlackBerry losing ground to the likes of iOS and Android, there are still many companies, governments, and individual users out there who remain loyal to the platform simply due to security reasons.
However it seems that recently in the Netherlands, the country’s Forensic Institute has confirmed that its local law enforcement is capable of cracking PGP-equipped BlackBerry devices. Unsurprisingly the method of how they went about doing it remains a secret, it has been suggested that they are relying on a tool from CelleBrite to accomplish this.
The reason for cracking PGP-equipped BlackBerry devices is because such devices are typically marketed as being more secure, and in turn it also seems that such security is favored by the likes of organized criminal groups. So by being able to crack such devices, Dutch police will be able to gain access to secure information that they couldn’t before.
Now we know not all PGP BlackBerry phones are used by criminals, and if you are such a user, you can rest assured knowing that in order to crack your device, the police (or a hacker that has figured out how) will need physical access to your phone. That being said it’s interesting that the Dutch have confirmed this, while other agencies that Motherboard has reached out to, like the DEA, FBI, and the UK’s National Crime Agency have declined to comment on these findings.
Update: a BlackBerry spokesperson reached out to Ubergizmo with the following statement:
“We are confident that BlackBerry provides the world’s most secure communications platform to government, military and enterprise customers. However, we can’t comment on this claim as we don’t have any details on the specific device or the way that it was configured, managed or otherwise protected, nor do we have details on the nature of the communications that are claimed to have been decrypted.”