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Friday, 20 August 2021 10:19

BlackBerry goes where no security vendor has gone before Featured

BlackBerry goes where no security vendor has gone before Image by PollyDot from Pixabay

Security vendor BlackBerry has gone where no other firm in its space has, by providing links to ransomware leaks on the dark web, something that is studiously avoided by both infosec outfits and journalists.

In a post published last month, the company provided a link to the leak site of the Hive ransomware, another Windows-only malware group. The link provided at that time is still valid on Friday morning AEST.

The reason why firms and journalists do not provide links to such leak sites is because there may often be information available there which should not get into the public domain.

iTWire will not be linking to the BlackBerry post for the same reason.

For example, one of the data dumps on the site that Blackberry linked to contains the names and addresses of people under state protection.

iTWire asked Blackberry about this practice and Eric Milam, vice-president, Research Operations at BlackBerry, responded: "The research blogs that BlackBerry publishes are geared towards cyber security researchers and are in line with standard responsible disclosure practices that BlackBerry adheres to."

This explanation does not hold water for the simple reason that the BlackBerry post in question is open to world+dog. Had it been open to only a select audience, there would be no need to write about it.

Cyber security has become an extremely lucrative field and the number of companies offering services in this area has grown by leaps and bounds.

In fact, BlackBerry is itself a recent entrant to the field, having made its debut after acquiring an existing vendor, Cylance, in February 2019. Prior to that, the Canadian firm was only known for its distinctive smartphones with old-style physical keyboards.

Given this explosion in the number of companies vying for available business, companies do everything possible to get their names in the media. Blog posts about the company's own research or a general security issue, which journalists are informed about, are one way to show up on a media site.

This is not to decry the BlackBerry research in the post under discussion; it contains a very detailed and ionteresting discussion of Hive, a ransomware group that is relatively new.

However, the publication of material that should not be disclosed tends to nullify its good points altogether.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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