BlackBerry hacked? NSA, GCHQ reportedly break into BlackBerry calls, messages

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) staunchly defended the security of its services and platforms after documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that diplomats' BlackBerry messages were intercepted at two conferences in London in 2009, including the G20 conference.

The documents, which were given to the Guardian, showed that the NSA and the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, set up a fake Internet cafe at the conferences. The agencies used email interception and key-logging software and also intercepted BlackBerry messages and calls.

BlackBerry has long maintained that its services protect users' security, and that messages sent on its BlackBerry devices are encrypted and can only be seen by corporate client servers. The company holds up the security of its services as a key mark of differentiation compared to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and especially Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android.

Until now, BlackBerry has managed to sidestep the continuing furor surrounding Snowden's leaks about NSA programs. However, the Guardian reported that the documents reveal apparently successful attempts at cracking BlackBerry security that yielded data about meetings ahead of when they took place: "New converged events capabilities against BlackBerry provided advance copies of G20 briefings to ministers … Diplomatic targets from all nations have an MO of using smartphones. Exploited this use at the G20 meetings last year," according to the documents revealed by the Guardian.

"While we cannot comment on media reports regarding alleged government surveillance of telecommunications traffic, we remain confident in the superiority of BlackBerry's mobile security platform for customers using our integrated device and enterprise server technology," BlackBerry said, according to the Globe and Mail. "Our public statements and principles have long underscored that there is no 'back door' pipeline to that platform. Our customers can rest assured that BlackBerry mobile security remains the best available solution to protect their mobile communications."

For more:
- see this Guardian article
- see this NYT article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Globe and Mail article

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