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RIM Details Security Features of BlackBerry PlayBook

BlackBerry PlayBook Security Model

Since RIM first announced the BlackBerry PlayBook I know many enterprise administrators and even regular users were curious about the security model. RIM has done quite a bit with BlackBerry Bridge but I noticed that they have published up a document that clearly details the whole security model of the BlackBerry PlayBook. It is actually quite cool how certain apps can run in work mode or personal mode and how RIM controls that and plans on allowing administrators to control it in the future. They even hint that future work applications will be able to access the corporate intranet through the BlackBerry Bridge without a VPN. Kind of cool!

If you are at all interested in how RIM secures the OS and bridge connection of the BlackBerry PlayBook I highly recommend reading their PDF guide titled “BlackBerry PlayBook Security Technical Overview.” I started trying to summarize it but found that the summary was almost as long as the PDF… :) There are still quite a few questions that RIM still has to answer such as how BES admins will be able to push out applications and secure them but hopefully that will be coming at BlackBerry World next week! Let me know if you spot anything good!

Just to give you an idea of what it includes the guide explains the different ways the BlackBerry Bridge is protected from:

  • Brute-force attack
  • Online dictionary attack
  • Eavesdropping
  • Impersonating a smartphone
  • Man-in-the-middle attack
  • Small subgroup attack

Or how the different apps interact with work or personal mode:

The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet permits the following applications to run in work mode only:

  • BlackBerry Bridge
  • BlackBerry Messenger

The tablet permits the following applications to run in work mode or personal mode: •    Web browser (the web browser has separate processes, disk caches, download folders and HTML5 persistent files for work mode and personal mode)

  • Photo viewer
  • Media player
  • Email application
  • Calendar application
  • Contacts application
  • Document viewers such as Documents To Go or Adobe Reader
  • Files application
4 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. What I don’t understand is that I can’t set any owner info on a locked screen so that if I were to leave my Playbook somewhere, that whomever finds it can’t unlock the screen but can see my contact info to return it to me. This is needed badly!!!

  2. interesting information, but they should really take the phone of the equation. Playbook needs to be able to become a stand alone device.

    • Hi @m0m0,

      Alex from RIM here. To add my .02, I’d like to clarify that the current Wi-Fi PlayBook provides remote PC and secure VPN access using its built-in Wi-Fi connection to access enterprise data and applications, just like you would with a laptop.
      We’ve also announced that three 4G PlayBook tablets will make their debut this year:

      – BlackBerry 4G PlayBook with Wi-Fi + WiMax: this summer via Sprint
      – BlackBerry 4G PlayBook with Wi-Fi + LTE: second half of 2011
      – BlackBerry 4G PlayBook with Wi-Fi + HSPA+: second half of 2011

      Alex, RIM Social Media Team

  3. It’s very disappointing to see that the personal file system is not encrypted since anything that is not using BES is deemed personal.
    That’s quite a large oversight and a way of not taking business relying on BIS seriously.

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