BlackBerry Drop Regular Security Patches For The BlackBerry PRIV
BlackBerry have announced that their first Android-powered device, the BlackBerry PRIV, has received it’s last Google security patch. Google has released monthly security patches for some time now, which aim to secure the platform against critical security vulnerabilities. When BlackBerry released the BlackBerry PRIV, the company promised the device would receive two years of software support. It’s hard to believe that this happened two years ago! We had seen how BlackBerry were not going to release Android 7.0 Nougat for the PRIV, so the device has been running Android 6.0 Marshmallow following an upgrade from Android 5.1 Lollipop.
When BlackBerry released the BlackBerry PRIV, the company explained that it had worked to harden the device against security threats. BlackBerry devices use secure boot technology to prevent the operating system from being tampered with, as well as changes to the platform designed to harden it against security threats. Furthermore, the device is also designed to warn customers that it has been tampered with, even if intentional. As such, the company believes its software, “provides a secure environment that makes it difficult for attackers to find vulnerabilities or perform attacks,” and because of the changes, means that BlackBerry devices, “provide more durable security and require far fewer patches than non-BlackBerry smartphones.” The company explain that because of how the PRIV has been hardened, it has, “had little need for many of the updates we delivered in conjunction with partners such as Google and Qualcomm.” This is an interesting statement for the company to make on its blog, which was then followed by the announcement (confirmation, really) that it would no longer be delivering regular monthly patches for the BlackBerry PRIV.
There is, however, a caveat: the company explained that: “should a critical vulnerability be exposed we will engage our partners as needed to develop and deliver necessary patches.” In other words, if a scary vulnerability is discovered in the Android platform and the BlackBerry PRIV is exposed, the company will work with its industry partners to harden Android. This is good news for BlackBerry customers.
There’s some other news in that BlackBerry, together with BlackBerry Mobile, are preparing a trade-in scheme for current BlackBerry customers using the BlackBerry PRIV, BlackBerry 10, and older devices – allowing a less expensive upgrade route into either the BlackBerry KEYone or BlackBerry Motion.