BBM is still a hugely popular messaging app and now there’s a new version of it that promises to be the most secure mobile messaging platform in the world. BlackBerry on Monday announced the availability of BBM Protected, which functions just as BBM does except it now has an added layer of encryption in the form of a unique encryption key that’s shared exclusively between a message’s sender and its recipient. Even more impressively, BlackBerry says that “each message uses a new random symmetric key for message encryption,” so even if one key gets compromised it doesn’t mean all your messages will also be exposed.
The good news for existing BBM users is that BBM Protected integrates seamlessly with standard BBM, which means you’ll still be able to use it to securely message with everyone who uses BlackBerry’s messaging app. The bad news is that it will only be available to a limited number of people to start — BlackBerry says that for now only “customers with BBOS devices operating on BES 5” and “customers with BlackBerry 10 smartphones with gold licenses on BES10 running EMM regulated Work Space mode only” will be able to download it and use it. Eventually, the company will roll out BBM Protected to anyone who wants to buy it, including iOS and Android users.
UPDATE: BlackBerry checks in to clarify that this service is really for enterprise users only and not the average consumer. To be able to use it in the future, you will need to run it through BES, which means that unless you own and operate your own BES within your house you’ll need to rely on your company to hook you up with BBM Protected.