BlackBerry Priv To Get Monthly Android Security Updates

Set to begin shipping tomorrow, the BlackBerry Priv smartphone -- the company's first Android device -- will receive monthly OTA (over-the-air) updates to patch any recently identified security vulnerabilities. BlackBerry said it will also provide hotfix patches as needed when critical Android bugs are discovered that can't wait for the monthly updates.

Businesses with large numbers of BlackBerry devices will also be able to control software updates and patches through the company's BlackBerry Enterprise Server and OTA management systems, the company said yesterday in a blog post.

Priced starting at $699 in the U.S., the Priv is clearly aimed at a niche audience of privacy-focused and security-focused enterprise users. How well the new phone performs could also determine the future direction of BlackBerry itself, which continues to experience a declining share of the global device market.

3-Pronged Approach to Privacy, Security

BlackBerry's foray into Android "requires tremendous resources and hard-earned expertise in protecting users that go far beyond the engineering of the device itself," said David Kleidermacher, the company's chief security officer, in the blog post. "Setting the bar in incident response and patch management is a critical part of the BlackBerry end-to-end Android privacy strategy."

With the Priv, the company will take a three-pronged approach to security: monthly Android updates; hotfix patching as needed; and support for enterprise-managed control of updates, Kleidermacher said.

BlackBerry will release its monthly updates through its online store as well as through the carriers and authorized dealers who agree to participate in those fixes, Kleidermacher said. While it will also work with partners to deliver irregular hotfixes as needed, the company also "has the ability to directly patch all Priv variants and will do so when necessary to protect users and enterprises" he added.

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