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Not even BlackBerry can escape the Heartbleed bug

Published Apr 14th, 2014 9:45PM EDT
BlackBerry BBM Heartbleed Patch

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Here’s how you know that Heartbleed is a serious and widespread problem: Even BlackBerry is scrambling to push out patches for it. Although BlackBerry prides itself with being the world’s leader in mobile security, Reuters reports that it was caught flat-footed by the Heartbleed bug just like everyone else and is now planning “to release security updates for messaging software for Android and iOS devices by Friday to address vulnerabilities in programs” exposed by the massive new security flaw.

Heartbleed is a major flaw in OpenSSL, the security protocol used to encrypt web traffic, that could potentially allow hackers to swipe any data that users send over the web. News about the bug sent shockwaves throughout the tech industry last week as companies are now quickly trying to patch security holes on their own websites to keep their users’ data safe.

The good news for BlackBerry users is that the company says that most of its products are unaffected by Heartbleed and are perfectly safe to use. The bad news is that one of the products that is affected is its cross-platform version of BBM, its hugely popular mobile messaging app that has an estimated 85 million monthly active users.

Even so, BlackBerry senior vice president Scott Totzke tells Reuters that “the level of risk here is extremely small” and that exploiting Heartbleed on BBM would take a “very complex attack that has to be timed in a very small window.”

If you still don’t feel comfortable using BBM until the security hole is patched, you’ll only have to wait until the end of the week until it’s safe again after BlackBerry releases its BBM patch.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.