BlackBerry's deal to buy voice crypto company Secusmart blessed by German government

The deal will let BlackBerry step up its cross-platform push with better security

BlackBerry is now free to integrate German security vendor Secusmart's voice encryption technology on its smartphones and software, after the German government approved its acquisition of the company.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen still wants his company to be the first choice of CIOs that want nothing but the best security as he works to turn around the company's fortunes. The acquisition of Secusmart lets the company add the capability to encrypt voice and data communication to government security standards.

In this post-Edward Snowden world, cross-border acquisitions of security vendors have become even more touchy than before. Since Secusmart's technology is used by the German government -- including chancellor Angela Merkel , according to the company itself -- it was extra sensitive.

After careful consideration the deal has now been approved, and the German government has protected its national security with the help of a special treaty, a spokeswoman at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said on Friday. She didn't elaborate on what demands the treaty puts on BlackBerry.

When BlackBerry announced the deal to buy Secusmart back in July, it didn't come as much of a surprise. The two companies had already been working intimately with each other on SecuSuite for BlackBerry 10.

The product was launched in March last year and encrypts both phone calls and data communications. It uses a microSD card for storing encrypted documents, and a smartcard chip that performs the encryption. The new BlackBerry Passport handset was added to the list of compatible products this month.

The acquisition doesn't just let BlackBerry integrate Secusmart's features on its own OS. It can also help BlackBerry advance its cross-platform push. For example, Secusmart has developed the Secure Call app with network operator Vodafone, which lets users make encrypted phone calls using Android-based devices and Apple's iPhones.

That part of Chen's turnaround plan has become increasingly important as sales of BlackBerry's own smartphones represented less than 1 percent of total smartphone shipments during the third quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. This month, BlackBerry also joined forces with Samsung Electronics to integrate BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) 12 with Galaxy smartphones and tablets.

Send news tips and comments to

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesBlackberrySecuSmartsecurityMobile OSesencryptionmobileMergers and acquisitions

More about AppleBlackBerryGalaxySamsungVodafone

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Mikael Ricknäs

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place