Unlike Geo Claims, Blackberry Communication Can’t be Altered

I assume that everyone is aware of recent “Memogate” scandal, so instead of narrate all the details, I will go straight to point to uncover those faces who are playing with our national interests to save the names of few.

Geo TV, in it’s show “Ajj Kamran Khan Kay Sath”, reported that Blackberry communication can be altered, following is what exactly Mr. Ikram Sehgal said in the show:

Blackberry communication can be altered even after the handshake of protocol is carried out, there’s no doubt about it.

You can watch the video clip yourself by clicking this link

This claim or Mr. Sehgal is absolutely wrong. According to RIM, no communication between two blackberries can be intercepted. No one can even read it let alone altering this communication.

The whole world knows that security of communication is the only feature that RIM has relied on to build it’s business.

When I asked the same question from Mr. Abdullah Saad, the chief of WCCFTech, a security expert, he simply denied the possibility of altering a BBM (Blackberry messenger) communication, saying “if Blackberry communication can be altered ‘after’ the security handshake then it would be the first recorded case in the history of Blackberry”.

BBM messages, they are sent using a global PIN key, which can be broken / decrypted only using RIM’s master keys. This is why countries from around the world, in order to access encrypted blackberry messenger information, reach out to RIM to provide them with the master keys to decrypt this information.

To put this in simpler words, you will have to decrypt the communication after message is sent out of blackberry device, alter it while on the go, encrypt it again before it reaches the recipient blackberry device. And you will have to do that without breaking the security key (attached with every BB message).

Now one can’t break such kind of encryption without keys unless you are NSA, rather tough for even NSA to achieve.

It won’t be out of place to mention here that if altering blackberry communication was so easy then why India, Saudi Arabia, UAE and many other nations are having tough time even monitoring it. At the end they were provided with tools from RIM to monitor BBM traffic, that too only Date Stamps and PIN IDs and not the actual message.

Just to add, BBM data (only the date stamps and PIN IDs, but not the actual message) can be fetched from RIM servers upon government’s request.

Only way to temper a BB Device:

Having said all this, there’s one way of tempering BBM data, and that’s only one possible way of doing it if you have physical access of any BB device. Once you have such kind of access, you can use it the way you want to prove that device has sent/received messages according to your wish.

Additionally, with having physical access to a blackberry device, you can install third party spyware – it shall enable the third party to access the data on a BB device (encrypted or otherwise). This includes information about geo-location, emails, BBM messages and text messages on that particular device.

In case of ambassador Hussain Haqqani, it is not being suggested that his BBM messages were ‘lawfully’ or ‘unlawfully’ accessed and read but that some hacker got access to his phone and used it to fabricate / send the said messages to Mansur Ijaz. If proven in a court of law, this shall be the first such incident of its kind involving RIM.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK