BBM Protected FAQ
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  BBM Protected FAQ

Get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about BBM Protected: what it is, how it works, and how you can purchase and deploy it.

How does BBM Protected work to add additional encryption to BBM messages?
BBM Protected works by adding an additional level of encryption to messages sent between BBM Protected users by exchanging a set of public keys that are unique to those two users. The first time two BBM Protected users attempt to message each other, a secret passphrase is shared by email, SMS, phone or in person. Once the secret passphrase is verified, public signing and encryption keys are exchanged between the two users allowing for this advanced encryption of messages.

Does this mean that regular or personal BBM Chats are not secure?
Not at all. The default level of security offered by BBM today is already very secure, offering two layers of encryption for messages sent between BBM contacts. First, BBM uses a TLS to establish a secure connection between the smartphone and the server. TLS is a common web standard that is used for online shopping and internet banking. Additionally, BBM messages are encrypted using a triple DES 168-bit BBM scrambling key which encrypts messages leaving the sender’s phone, and authenticates and decrypts messages on the recipient’s phone. These two layers working together mean that you have secure messages flowing through a secure pipe. BBM Protected adds an additional layer of advanced encryption to this security model helping to meet the needs of the most security conscious organizations.

Can a BBM Protected user only talk to BBM Protected users within the company?
When a company has enabled BBM Protected for a user, BBM messages sent to any other BBM Protected users will be secured at this higher level of encryption – these could be other BBM Protected users within the same organization, or BBM Protected users at another organization on a completely different BES. This is one of the advantages offered by BBM Protected; out of the box secure messaging between organizations without the need for any federation or configuration. Plus, BBM Protected users can continue to use the same app to chat and share with other BBM contacts like family and friends.

Can BlackBerry read BBM Protected messages?
No, BlackBerry cannot read BBM Protected messages. The encryption keys used to secure messages sent between BBM protected users are generated by the
phones and controlled by the BES server. BlackBerry is not the broker in this public key exchange.

Does BBM Protected mean that BBM messages are automatically logged?
No, BBM Protected is not a supervisory feature like logging or auditing. BBM Protected is a security feature separate from other supervisory features available
with the Gold Tier of BES.

What version of BlackBerry software is required for BBM Protected?
a. For BlackBerry OS devices, BBM Protected will work with BlackBerry OS version 6.0, 7.0, or 7.1
b. For BlackBerry 10 devices, BBM Protected will work on BlackBerry 10 v 10.2, 10.2.1, or 10.3

What version of BBM is required for BBM Protected?
a. For BlackBerry OS devices, BBM Protected requires BBM version 8.5 or higher
b. For BlackBerry 10 devices, BBM Protected requires BBM version 10.3.30 or higher

How do I know if I am in a BBM Protected chat?
While the aim is to make BBM Protected as seamless and transparent as possible for BBM users, there are a few ways to tell when you are having a BBM Protected chat. In the field where you type your message you will see that it says ‘Protected. Enter a message’. You will also find that as you type your message, it appears in blue whereas text in a chat using default BBM encryption will appear in black. When you’re in a BBM Protected Group, you will see a small lock symbol that appears at the top of the group lobby next to the BBM Group name. This serves as a reminder that this is a BBM Protected Group meaning that all messages between all participants are encrypted using the advanced public / private key and only other BBM Protected users will be permitted to join the group.

How do you know which of your BBM contacts are also using BBM Protected?
BBM Protected aims to make chatting with other BBM Protected users seamless by moving the security to the background so that it doesn’t get in the way of the user – therefore we don’t put a lot of emphasis on who is and isn’t a BBM Protected user. That said, when you go to start a new BBM chat, you will see that a small lock appears next to the names of other BBM Protected users on your BBM Contact list.

Can I cut and paste copy in to a BBM Protected chat from another application?
Yes, BBM users can cut and paste freely in to a BBM Protected conversation. BBM Protected offers enhanced encryption of the chat without limiting in any way what kind of content can be shared. For instance, a BBM user can copy a phone number from a BBM Protected chat in to a chat with a non-BBM Protected user. This is yet another
example of the seamless user experience plays an important role in the BBM Protected offering.

Does the added encryption offered by BBM Protected apply to BBM Voice and BBM Video calls?
BBM Protected encryption applies to BBM messages, attachments and files sent between BBM Protected users. It also applies to multi-person BBM chats where all participants are BBM Protected users and BBM Groups that have been established as Protected BBM Groups. It does not apply to BBM Voice and BBM Video calls at this time.


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