BlackBerry Delivers 'Spy-Proof' Tablets for German Government

By Guest Author  |  Posted 2016-09-05 Print this article Print
BlackBerry, spyproof tablets
By Tom Jowitt

The German government continues to tighten its tech-related security with the introduction of "spy-proof" tablets that combine security technologies from both Samsung and BlackBerry.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablets will be utilized by German government agencies that deal with classified information.

Secure Tablets

The Canadian firm said that the SecuTABLET is made by BlackBerry's Secusmart unit, which it had purchased back in 2014.

Secusmart specializes in high-security voice and data encryption as well as anti-eavesdropping technology for government organizations, enterprises and telecommunications service providers, and the two companies had previously collaborated to produce Secusmart-equipped BlackBerry phones for German government agencies.

The SecuTABLET mixes the Secusmart encryption technology with that of Samsung, providing a Galaxy Tab S2 that has been certified for German governmental use.

"SecuTABLET is being used by government agencies in Germany to ensure its staff can work on the go without falling victim to espionage," said BlackBerry.

The device itself is described as highly secure and has been approved by the German Federal Office for Information Security at the "classified—for official use only” (VS-NfD) security level. It comes integrated with government-grade MAM technology.

"The SecuTABLET uses the Secusmart Security card responsible for securely encrypting the transfer of mobile data as well as encrypting all the information stored on the device," said the Canadian company.

"Also integrated into the tablet is software that provides Certificate Management for managing all keys and certifications stored in the Secusmart Security Card and VPN for cryptographically secured data communication."

Secusmart's secure voice technology will be added later this year. The tablet also uses Samsung's Knox mobile security platform, which allows users to securely switch the device between both business and personal use. The combination of the two adds an extra layer of security on top of the Android operating system and creates a platform on which to produce mobile security services.

"With the SecuTABLET, for the first time, we are combining secure software and hardware from multiple manufacturers into a joint solution," said Dr. Christoph Erdmann, managing director of Secusmart. "Receiving approval from the BSI confirms our resolve to offer solutions that combine maximum security with ease of operation and that are always available on the very latest hardware."

German Security

Germany has long been concerned with potential spying and has worked hard to tighten its cyber security technology in recent years.

The threat was starkly illustrated in 2013, when it was revealed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been a target of NSA eavesdropping, a move that soured Germany's relationship with the U.S.

However, it is believed that any attempts to crack her encryption likely failed, thanks to the ongoing agreement with Secusmart.

The German government later cancelled a contract with the U.S. telecoms giant Verizon Communications, because of concerns about the spying activities of the NSA.

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