BlackBerry’s Android Slider Using Hardened Linux Kernel
With BlackBerry’s focus of best in class security, many options were tested when it came to securing the companies first foray into Android. In a previous opinion thread we speculated that BlackBerry may seek to utilize their own technologies to harden the security layers around Android, to a degree this was correct. With some of the latest leaks of the device it instead looks like they’re utilizing a popular grsecurity architecture which is a set of security patches and access controls to allow the OEM to lock down aspects of the root kernel to secure the bedrock of the platform.
Grsecurity® is an extensive security enhancement to the Linux kernel that defends against a wide range of security threats through intelligent access control, memory corruption-based exploit prevention, and a host of other system hardening that generally require no configuration. It has been actively developed and maintained for the past 14 years. Commercial support for grsecurity is available through Open Source Security, Inc.
This ‘secure’ kernel alongside the preloaded application BlackBerry Safeguard will offer top to bottom security measures to make this, arguably, one of the most secure consumer Android devices to hit the market. So much remains unconfirmed at this point but all signs point to BlackBerry’s capability to secure Android and bring a trusted product to market. Time will tell whether the end users will care about such implementation considering BlackBerry 10 handsets already offer these security features for years.