What is peer-to-peer message encryption?

Article ID: KB10498

Type: Support Content

Last Modified: 12-15-2011


Product(s) Affected:

  • BES5
  • BlackBerry smartphones
  • BlackBerry® Enterprise Server

During the manufacturing process, Research In Motion (RIM) loads a common peer-to-peer encryption key onto BlackBerry smartphones. Although the BlackBerry® smartphone uses the peer-to-peer encryption key with Triple Data Encryption Standard (Triple DES) to encrypt personal identification number (PIN) messages, every BlackBerry smartphone can decrypt every PIN message that it receives because each BlackBerry smartphone stores the same peer-to-peer encryption key. PIN message encryption does not prevent a BlackBerry smartphone other than the intended recipient from decrypting the PIN message. Therefore, consider PIN messages as scrambled, but not encrypted.

The number of smartphones that can decrypt the organization's PIN messages can be limited by generating a new peer-to-peer encryption key known only to BlackBerry smartphones in the same organization. A BlackBerry smartphone with a corporate peer-to-peer encryption key can send and receive PIN messages with other BlackBerry smartphones on a corporate network with the same peer-to-peer encryption key. These PIN messages use corporate scrambling instead of the original global scrambling.

A new corporate peer-to-peer encryption key should be generated if the current key is compromised. The peer-to-peer encryption key can be updated and resent for BlackBerry smartphone users in BlackBerry Manager.

For more information on peer-to-peer encryption keys, see the  BlackBerry Enterprise Solution -Security Technical Overview - BlackBerry Enterprise Server 4.1 SP6.

Note: In BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 SP2 this is referred to as a global PIN encryption key, see the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution - Security Technical Overview - BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 SP2.

CollapseAdditional Information

For more information on encryption keys, see KB00171.


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