Senior bureaucrats lax on BlackBerry security



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Security experts suggest senior federal bureaucrats are playing with fire by sending sensitive government information on their BlackBerry.

The Canadian Press has learned that deputy ministers at three government departments have all used a BlackBerry feature called PIN messaging to discuss sensitive information.

PIN messaging allows BlackBerry users to send messages directly between devices over wireless networks, bypassing e-mail servers.

The privacy commissioner and the federal agency responsible for information security have explicitly said the PIN service shouldn't be used for sensitive material.

PIN messages are popular because they travel faster than emails.

There is the perception they are secure because they are encrypted and not stored, but they can be cracked.

Security experts like Keith Murphy of Defence Intelligence says if safeguards are breached the bureaucrats would have no recourse.

The vulnerability of government communications was exposed this week with word that computer networks at two federal departments were compromised by hackers.


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