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BlackBerry is the silent partner in securing governments around the world

By Lisa Cornish

November 2, 2023

Source: Adobe

When we think of BlackBerry, our minds commonly turn to the devices that shaped smartphones. Today, BlackBerry is more than a phone. It supports businesses and Governments in new and exciting ways, powering more than half a billion devices around the world.

“In the background, we’ve had changes,” Byron Shaw, managing director of BlackBerry Cybersecurity ANZ, explained to The Mandarin. “The company’s morphed. BlackBerry is very different to the BlackBerry many people know.”

BlackBerry today provides automotive analytics, asset tracking, real-time operational insights, and cybersecurity. For government clients, it is the cybersecurity services that are a critical offering – and is the ONLY vendor named customers’ choice for endpoint protection platforms (EPP) and for Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) by Gartner. Through their BlackBerry Cybersecurity solutions, BlackBerry differentiates their offering with a prevention first focus.

“Through acquisition of companies over the last 10 years, we’ve been able to build on our security portfolio,” Shaw said. “And importantly the TRUST our customers have in our products.”

Why prevention matters

When it comes to malware, Shaw explained that emerging threats can employ novel techniques, but at their core, they are still exhibiting the same behaviour overall. “These distinctive code attributes, even though they may appear to be novel, can be abstracted and evaluated against our models.”

This makes threats easy to detect.

For example, Emotet considered to be one of the most dangerous malwares in cybersecurity history, if released 35 months ago Cylance AI and ML model at the time would have prevented it. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Prediction allows for pre-zero day prevention
Source: Supplied

How does BlackBerry achieve this? Cylance artificial intelligence uses known malware characteristics to detect and prevent threats on targeted systems ultimately mitigating risk for the end user. When new codes appear “in the wild”, Shaw said, BlackBerry dedicated Cyber Analysts team look for these emerging threats, models are constantly being developed and trained against these new threats to stop them from executing. And with BlackBerry’s global footprint, including United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore, Japan and Australia, threats from all corners of the globe can be responded to.

“All these areas geographically have certain functions within the core business of the company around cyber,” Shaw said.

In comparison to BlackBerry’s strategy for cybersecurity, competitors commonly detect and respond to threats. The problem, however, is by that time data and systems may have been compromised. This can mean months of uncovering the extent of hacks and recovering from the attack.

“Prevention first is part of what we deliver at BlackBerry,” Shaw said.

For government in particular, this differentiation is important. A prevention first strategy has resulted in BlackBerry cybersecurity solutions stopping the greatest number of attacks against government agencies in North America and the Asia Pacific Region between March and May 2023, according to their Global Threat Intelligence Report. Approximately 98.9% of threats are prevented before reaching client systems, ensuring business remains stable for their clients. The ability for BlackBerry to detect and prevent threats early is also critical for government – having in-house capability to do that themselves is almost impossible due to the capacity and capability required.

If government had that luxury within each agency, they would be able to do what we do. But the reality is there might be one or two people who are responsible for cybersecurity within an organisation and they just don’t have the time to look on multiple products. To support them, BlackBerry Cybersecurity solutions cuts down the noise and provides visibility where they need it – as well as peace of mind that their systems are protected.” Shaw said.

Protecting government data

BlackBerry is already a trusted Cybersecurity partner for governments around the world. It protects 17 of the G20 Government giving them an inherent understanding of the unique features and requirements of securing systems for government bodies.

In the United States, federal government agencies relying on BlackBerry to support cybersecurity includes the U.S. Senate, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Coast Guard, Capitol Hill, and the Department of Homeland Security. At local government level, BlackBerry Cybersecurity solutions has been implemented by Fairfax County in Virginia to protect its systems and data from malware attacks – critical for an area of government that is lacking the resources and expertise to prevent attacks on their own. In Australia and New Zealand, departments and agencies have deployed various BlackBerry Cybersecurity solutions to implement a prevention first, security by design strategy.

Particularly important is the uptake in hospitals and the medical system – a sector that is a key target for attacks according to the Global Threat Intelligence Report. “Whether it is medical equipment or shared devices that are used in hospitals such as iPads, we covered everything to make sure that data that exists on whatever device is protected,” Shaw said. For hospitals, this is more than just preventing data being compromised and costs to hospitals to recover from attacks. It is also important in preventing uninterrupted healthcare for patients.

Protecting the systems and devices that clients have in place is an important part of service delivery. BlackBerry aim to understand what clients use in their environment to make sure that their products work with it. And with an increasing hybrid working model, BlackBerry Cybersecurity Solutions is able to protect the organisation wherever staff and their devices are. This includes solutions like encrypted voice and messaging for federal government officials from unclassified through to Top Secret, critical event management for IT and locking devices down with Unified Endpoint Management.

Within the Asia Pacific region, more than half of BlackBerry’s cybersecurity client base is government. This includes Federal and State government agencies in Australia, who have heavily invested and put their TRUST in the BlackBerry Cybersecurity portfolio.

“We protect hundreds of thousands of Government endpoints from a security perspective,” Shaw said. “Endpoint for us is a mobile phone and a laptop, a desktop server, anything that has an operating system we can monitor effectively.”

“The Essential Eight provides mitigation strategies that government organisations need to implement as a baseline. And BlackBerry can support clients on a journey towards strengthened cybersecurity by advising them how changes can reduce or increase risk threats.” Shaw said.

Educating government is also important, and through the Global Threats Intelligence Report released quarterly, BlackBerry can inform clients on trends in cybersecurity threats including what they are doing to prevent bad actors in this space.

For BlackBerry, ensuring clients have all the tools they need to educate, protect, and importantly prevent, is an essential part of business.

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