DOD users can add S/MIME to BlackBerrys

BlackBerry handheld e-mail devices

BlackBerry handheld e-mail devices used in the military services can get a government-specific Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions upgrade of their software under a National Security Agency contract with the device maker, Research In Motion Ltd.

Mike Lazaridis, president and co-chief executive officer of the Waterloo, Ontario, company, said a Defense Department user of the BlackBerry 957, 5810 or 6710 would pay an undisclosed licensing fee for the S/MIME public-key cryptography upgrade from NSA. He declined to give the value of his company's development contract.

The software upgrade will encrypt and decrypt messages and attachments in a user's desktop e-mail and synchronized BlackBerry, under a second password for that user's existing DOD digital certificate.

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