BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) today announced that its newest mobile OS, BlackBerry 6, has received the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 certification, making the software suitable for secure U.S. government use, as well as for use by additional organizations that demand proven, high-level data security.
FIPS 140-2 is a U.S. government security standard used to validate cryptographic modules and ensure that those modules properly and securely encrypt data. The standard was developed through the Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP), which certifies products for use by U.S. government agencies and regulated industries that collect, store, transfer, share and disseminate sensitive information, according to RIM. Past versions of RIM's BlackBerry OS have received FIPS 140-2 certification, but RIM just got the FIPS 140-2 accreditation for BlackBerry 6 on Monday.
The announcement comes at a time when RIM's feeling increased pressure from rivals like Apple and Google in the mobile enterprise space, and the BlackBerry maker is attempting to spotlight any and all competitive advantages it may have over these firms. RIM's strength has always been security, and that's why BlackBerry has largely become the de facto smartphone and mobile environment for organizations that value security.
Unfortunately, BlackBerry 6 is only officially available on three BlackBerry devices at this point: the BlackBerry Torch 9800, on AT&T in the United States; the Bold 9780, on T-Mobile U.S.A.; and Sprint's BlackBerry Style 9670. RIM says BlackBerry 6 should be available on additional BlackBerry smartphones in the not too distant future, including the Curve 9300, Bolds 9650 and 9700, and the Pearl 9100, but individual wireless carriers will first have to approve BlackBerry 6 for each of these handhelds.
You can find a full list of BlackBerry smartphone and BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) certifications and approvals on RIM's website.