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BlackBerry suffers security blow, emails hacked by Dutch police

A Dutch police unit today revealed that it has been able to decrypt emails sent on BlackBerry smartphones - allowing police to read messages - despite the Dutch government’s stance against encryption backdoors.

More bad news is certainly not welcome for BlackBerry, which prides itself on providing customers with secure devices and is struggling to stay afloat in a world dominated by the likes rivals of Apple and Samsung.

A spokeswoman told the BBC (opens in new tab): "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."

It is believed that the tests - conducted by The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) - were carried out on PGP BlackBerrys, a device advertised as being specifically aimed at keeping data secure.

Greg Aligiannis, senior director of security at encryption company Echoworx (opens in new tab) commented: "This news completely contradicts the Dutch government’s stance against backdoors, and is likely to concern the public – not to mention BlackBerry customers – who have been led to believe that their privacy is a fundamental right within a democrsamatic society. Just because it's law enforcement decrypting personal communications, this shouldn’t make people feel at ease with the situation. Ultimately, an entrance is an entrance for everyone, including cyber criminals.

"Data privacy has become a much wider talking point with the introduction of the IP Bill. As more countries and government bodies follow suit, the adoption of encryption technologies will ramp up. People will start to feel that there privacy is at risk, no matter the hardware used, and start storing their data outside of the jurisdictions that are snooping on them."

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pieter Beens

Sam Pudwell
Sam Pudwell

Sam is Head of Content at Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, and has more than six years' experience as a reporter and content writer, having held the positions of Production Editor, Staff Writer, and Senior Business Writer at ITProPortal.