BlackBerry has denied reports that its BlackBerry 10 OS has failed to meet UK government security requirements.
The Guardian reported that BlackBerry 10 and the BlackBerry Balance software, which separates work and personal accounts on the device, failed to meet the same security requirements that BlackBerry 7.1 met in December last year.
However, a BlackBerry statement said: “Media reports alleging that BlackBerry 10 has been ‘rejected’ for UK government use are both false and misleading.”
It said the company remains the only mobile platform approved for ‘restricted’ access — two levels below ‘secret’ — according to the UK’s Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG) guidelines.
It added that this level of approval “only comes following a process which is rigorous and absolutely necessary given the highly confidential nature of the communications being transmitted”.
BlackBerry also said the restructuring of the approval process “due to the Government Protective Marking Scheme review and the new CESG Commercial Product Assurance scheme” will impact the time it takes for BlackBerry 10 to receive the same level of approval.
It noted that BlackBerry 10 has been awarded the US government’s FIPS 140-2 certification and was selected by the German Procurement Office and Federal Office for Information Security.
The CESG said that its discussions with BlackBerry regarding the use of BlackBerry 10 in government are “ongoing” and that it has “not yet performed an evaluation of the security of the platform”.
It added that it expects to issue Platform Guidance in the summer for BlackBerry 10 and the use of Balance. It also expressed confidence that BlackBerry 10 will “represent a viable solution” for UK government.
BlackBerry launched its critical new OS with the Z10 smartphone in January with hopes of returning to success after several years of losses. Missing out on business with the government and the NHS could hit the company hard, with millions in lost revenue.