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Old 07-03-2010, 09:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello everyone,

Over the past few days I have been researching the security and privacy of my BlackBerry (Bold 9700) with the intention of improving it. Most of the information I have found covers very obvious and basic steps that I've already taken such as disabling GPS and Bluetooth, enabling encryption and setting a password. About half of the information I found specifically relating to BlackBerry security was actually to do with the measures taken for Obama's phone. I did find out that Obama uses SecurVoice which appears to be a solid solution. Problem is, it's expensive and not even remotely targeted for the average consumer. (More towards entire IT departments which use BES)

Anyway, I figured some of the people on this forum might be able to shed some light on this for me.

What are the most important BlackBerry security/privacy measures that one should take?

What advice do you have for securing a BlackBerry?

How do you ensure the privacy of your calls, texts and emails?

Thanks in advance,
Alex
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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set device password.
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devnull View Post
set device password.
It's quite obvious that you didn't even read the thread.

Quote:
Most of the information I have found covers very obvious and basic steps that I've already taken such as disabling GPS and Bluetooth, enabling encryption and setting a password.
Furthermore, even if I hadn't said that - setting a device password DOES NOT protect or secure your actual communications.

Last edited by ahstanford : 07-03-2010 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think this all depends of the level of paranoia.

If we're talking about device security, enable password and setting a reasonable timeout of 5 or 10 minutes should be good enough for anyone. You can also enable Content Protection and encrypt the media card.

You can also get third party applications that can secure your applications and prompt you to enter a password when launching it.
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Step 1 - don't come on to a public forum with a serious attitude problem
Step 2 - see step 1

If you are on BES, there are certain things that the admins can see/log that you have no control over. Presumably you would never consider using WiFi.
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Agree with devnull and NJ.

As said by x14 above, it would depend upon your personal level of paranoia, what you are doing that requires such stealth and why you feel that you need to be so secure. Cell phones, by their nature, are in the open and can be subject to interception and monitoring by whomever.

If you are in the business of being secretive, then a cell device probably isn't for you, or at least an ordinary, run of the mill variety.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted

Seems to me that what options you would consider depend on exactly what degree and type of prying/spying you need to protect against. Sort of like your house or apartment or business ... Are basic door locks and window locks sufficient? Do you need a security system? Guard? Do you need a safe? Do you need a safety deposit box? It depends on what you have worth stealing, it's value, and how likely it is potential thieves know about it, and where it it is likely to be and when.

My opinion, the stock blackberry and some basic prudent behavior is all most any ordinary user needs. If you really need more, then you need professional advice.
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Last edited by aiharkness : 07-03-2010 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x14 View Post
I think this all depends of the level of paranoia.
For the sake of this conversation, let's assume the highest imaginable level of paranoia that we can wrap our heads around. In other words, I'm open to all security advancements and ideas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by x14 View Post
If we're talking about device security, enable password and setting a reasonable timeout of 5 or 10 minutes should be good enough for anyone. You can also enable Content Protection and encrypt the media card.
What exactly is "Content Protection?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by x14 View Post
You can also get third party applications that can secure your applications and prompt you to enter a password when launching it.
Actually, that's a great tip. Are these applications free? Can you refer me to any specific examples by chance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBlackBerry View Post
Step 1 - don't come on to a public forum with a serious attitude problem
Excuse me if I'm not very forgiving of pointless posting. I don't believe I need advice on forum etiquette, though.

I'd be glad to refer you to my numerous other forum accounts with years of activity, great reputation and even past/current moderator/administrator status.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBlackBerry View Post
Step 2 - see step 1
If anything, I think you need an attitude adjustment. The sarcasm, condescending attitude and general smartass etiquette is quite displeasing to a new member.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBlackBerry View Post
If you are on BES, there are certain things that the admins can see/log that you have no control over. Presumably you would never consider using WiFi.
Oh... now I know why you're standing up for a pointless poster. I think it was pretty clear from my OP that I don't use BES. You must have also neglected to take the time to read the topic in which you are replying to.

Quote:
Problem is, it's expensive and not even remotely targeted for the average consumer. (More towards entire IT departments which use BES)
...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubdub View Post
Agree with devnull and NJ.
Interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubdub View Post
As said by x14 above, it would depend upon your personal level of paranoia, what you are doing that requires such stealth and why you feel that you need to be so secure. Cell phones, by their nature, are in the open and can be subject to interception and monitoring by whomever.
I understand your point and it's a valid one, but I'm trying to compile a list of ideas and techniques relating to securing a BlackBerry - not explanations as to who would or would not need said security.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubdub View Post
If you are in the business of being secretive, then a cell device probably isn't for you, or at least an ordinary, run of the mill variety.
I'm not in any business of secrecy by any means, but simply a technology and BlackBerry enthusiast. That said, my business and/or secrecy needs do not relate to the topic at hand in any way. I'm trying to discuss approaches to the advancement of BlackBerry security.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aiharkness View Post
Seems to me that what options you would consider depend on exactly what degree and type of prying/spying you need to protect against. Sort of like your house or apartment or business ... Are basic door locks and window locks sufficient? Do you need a security system? Guard? Do you need a safe? Do you need a safety deposit box? It depends on what you have worth stealing, it's value, and how likely it is potential thieves know about it, and where it it is likely to be and when.

My opinion, the stock blackberry and some basic prudent behavior is all most any ordinary user needs. If you really need more, then you need professional advice.
Again, just looking for any contributions one can make regarding the DIY improvement of BlackBerry security. I have no reason to spend the money perusing professional advice on this as I don't require that level of secrecy. If I did, then I wouldn't be here in the first place. That said, I value my privacy and would like to make my own efforts to maintain it.

I'm hoping to see this get on topic.

Last edited by ahstanford : 07-03-2010 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted

My post was on topic. And it was straight to the point.

I think you are the one who doesn't get it, or else you just want to engage in idle talk.

First, security isn't just about the hardware and the software. It's about you, too. And you, the generic you, are likely to be the security hole.

Second, you are asking how to improve the security of the device and all appearances are you don't know what it can do stock out of the box.

Third, you are saying you are an ordinary consumer, right? Then the standard onboard security features offer you much more than you actually will ever need. Learn about it.
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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wow, time to get the popcorn. This could get interesting...
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:12 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted

Make some for me too. I'd rather eat and let someone else answer the OP question on what is content protection. Or OP could look it up while we enjoy the snacks.
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:21 AM   #12 (permalink)
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maybe this will get us back on topic with the security and all.
Attached Thumbnails
Security and Privacy on BlackBerry...-popcorn-pop-secret_300.jpg  
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:28 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Mmm. Good popcorn.
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:05 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I have to ask, why all the paranoia?

Setting a password, and enabling Content Protection should be more then enough.

Those 2 block people from getting to your device unless you choose a simple password.
And Content protection will prevent people from physical removing the RAM and extracting information that.

You turn of discoverable mode, although that is like turning off the broadcast of wireless router it means nothing, require BT encryption, turn on the device firewall.

You can always get a BES solution.. for addition security.

There is plenty of security features on the BB it depends how much you want to turn on, is it needed, and how hard you want to look to find out what options are available to..

Maybe you should sit back and read the IT Policy reference guide for BES.

Of course it still begs the question...1. why do you need this much security.. 2. what do you have your device. 3. how much functionality do you want to lose.
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:12 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted

Then there's the guy walking through the sky club talking business so loud everyone can hear. And he's dumb enough to have the speaker phone on so both sides of the converation are heard, by everybody in a 30 foot radius. I bet his blackberry was on BES, with IT policy, etc, lot a good it does in that case.

A brain is the most important component in secuirty.

Can I have more popcorn? Mmmmm.
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:33 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aiharkness View Post
My post was on topic. And it was straight to the point.
Your post did not contribute any solutions or related answers. Furthermore, it was pretty much a rephrasing of previous posts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aiharkness View Post
I think you are the one who doesn't get it, or else you just want to engage in idle talk.

First, security isn't just about the hardware and the software. It's about you, too. And you, the generic you, are likely to be the security hole.
Great, if you'd just offer some real-world examples of that then we would be making progress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aiharkness View Post
Second, you are asking how to improve the security of the device and all appearances are you don't know what it can do stock out of the box.
What is your point? Sure, I may not know of EVERY security feature that is on my phone. Feel free to enlighten me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aiharkness View Post
Third, you are saying you are an ordinary consumer, right? Then the standard onboard security features offer you much more than you actually will ever need. Learn about it.
I'm trying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by devnull View Post
wow, time to get the popcorn. This could get interesting...
Pointless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aiharkness View Post
Wirelessly posted

Make some for me too. I'd rather eat and let someone else answer the OP question on what is content protection. Or OP could look it up while we enjoy the snacks.
Pointless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by devnull View Post
maybe this will get us back on topic with the security and all.
Pointless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aiharkness View Post
Mmm. Good popcorn.
Pointless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveO86 View Post
I have to ask, why all the paranoia?
It's not as much paranois as it is principle. Call me crazy, but I value my privacy and intend to be aware of as many techniques to protect it as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveO86 View Post
Setting a password, and enabling Content Protection should be more then enough.

Those 2 block people from getting to your device unless you choose a simple password.
And Content protection will prevent people from physical removing the RAM and extracting information that.
Great info, thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveO86 View Post
You turn of discoverable mode, although that is like turning off the broadcast of wireless router it means nothing,
What is discoverable mode?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveO86 View Post
require BT encryption,
Can you expand on that as well for me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveO86 View Post
turn on the device firewall.
I looked at the firewall, but honestly I can't understand what real-world protection it would offer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveO86 View Post
You can always get a BES solution.. for addition security.
Unfortunately I'm not on BES anymore, and I'm not too keen on the idea of paying for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveO86 View Post
There is plenty of security features on the BB it depends how much you want to turn on, is it needed, and how hard you want to look to find out what options are available to..

Maybe you should sit back and read the IT Policy reference guide for BES.
Would said guide still be a worthwhile read even though I do not have BES? Might be a bit irrelevant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveO86 View Post
Of course it still begs the question...1. why do you need this much security..
I've explained that a few times already. I don't 'need' that much security per say. It's a matter of perspective. Some might say that everyone who desires privacy 'needs' as much security as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveO86 View Post
2. what do you have your device.
I'm not sure I understand the question. If you're asking what device I have - Bold 9700 as noted in OP and my postbit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveO86 View Post
3. how much functionality do you want to lose.
Depends on each specific incident. In general, I'm willing to give up functionality for privacy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aiharkness View Post
Then there's the guy walking through the sky club talking business so loud everyone can hear. And he's dumb enough to have the speaker phone on so both sides of the converation are heard, by everybody in a 30 foot radius. I bet his blackberry was on BES, with IT policy, etc, lot a good it does in that case.

A brain is the most important component in secuirty.

Can I have more popcorn? Mmmmm.
Just another repeat of the prior irrelevant nonsense.

I'm pretty sure vBulletin has an ignore function........ *heads off into User CP to alleviate the nonsense*

Last edited by ahstanford : 07-03-2010 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:02 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Discoverable Mode, is the ability for other devices to see you device while they scan for BlueTooth device.

Real life example I was looking for BT devices in the office, I found 2 other mobile phones, 1 of which was my bosses.

In the devices options within the BlueTooth options, you can set BT encryption between w/e BT devices you have.

BT is a pretty weak technology so I would turn this on for BT headsets.. I have some stereo BT device that I do not require BT because it's just music.

The Firewall is useful if you do not want to be contacted by anyone who is not in your contact list, or so you can block certain messages.

Back to my second question from my previous, I ment to type what kind of information do you have information that is worth protecting.

No it is not work looking at the IT Policy guide if you are not on BES anymore.

_____

Now to be honest, the BlackBerry will be the most secure mobile device you will find. The questions you should be asking is what information is so valuable and what should you do keep it safe.

For 99% of people, putting a password on your device is good enough, you can't bypass it and if you lose and someone tries to brute force the device, after x amount of attempts the device wipes itself.

As far as getting information off the RAM of device, this requires a very decent amount of knowledge to extract and move the RAM from the BlackBerry to get the information, I do suspect anyone in the consumer market capable of doing of this.. Unless you have some classified information. Therefore I see enabling Content Protection to be more of hindrance then a help of making you feel all warm and cozy.

I can understand you want your privacy but more then anything violation of privacy is by simply social engineering or looking at what you physical write down, not from the actual compromise of computer system.

I hope this reassures a bit..
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:05 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paranoid
Call me crazy, but I value my privacy and intend to be aware of as many techniques to protect it as possible.
No one has to call you that. You've brought this on all by yourself.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:32 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted

ahstanford, I was correct. You don't get it.

1 - You asked an open ended question to a complex problem. I gave you -- or tried to give you valuable insight by pointing this out. You say I did not contribute a solution? Clear your thinking and realize you have to state the problem before anyone can offer solutions!

Real world examples? See problem statement as in you provide one. Do you want to ensure your voice conversations are not overheard, intercepted, what? Protect your data at rest, in transit, what? What's your real world problem? Or you just paranoid, as already asked? (There's no solution for paranoid. They will always find you and hear or read everything.)

2 - What's my point about asking how to improve something before you even know what it does already? You ask what's the point? Sheesh!

Steve told you what you could have found easy and fast. See above re first figuring out what you really need and what features are stock.

3 - The popcorn jokes weren't pointless. See post #5. You come to a forum like this unprepared and then argue with people who point out how unprepared you are, well there's nothing else to do but have a good time rather than argue. That's the point.

4 - about irrelevant nonsense. Security is complex. What are you trying to protect and under what circumstances. Often your behavior is the biggest factor, and no security features on the device are going to change that. And the first question, again, is what do you want to protect and under what conditions.


And by the way, ignore works both ways.

Too bad you can't realize when people are helping even when it first seems the aren't, just because they don't come and heal at your command.

Geeze.
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Old 07-03-2010, 03:33 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Let's see 8144 vs. 5 posts. I wonder who is right?
Amazing!!
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