BlackBerry to buy WatchDox data security business

Facility in Israel is expected to become the basis of a new security-focused BlackBerry R&D centre.

WATERLOO, Ont. — BlackBerry Ltd. says it has a definitive agreement to buy WatchDox Ltd. for an undisclosed price.

WatchDox products give organizations control over how files are edited, copied, printed or forwarded from mobile and desktop devices.

Among other things, WatchDox gives administrators the ability to lock or remove access to files compromised in a data breach.

The company has its headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., and a research centre in Israel, which is expected to become the basis of a new security-focused BlackBerry R&D centre.

BlackBerry says the WatchDox technology will be offered as a value-added service and available with its BlackBerry Enterprise Server software, one of the smartphone company’s main products for organizations.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based technology firm has also established the Centre for High Assurance Computing Excellence (CHACE) initiative to expand its R&D efforts to drive worldwide innovation and improvement in computer security.

“As the number of connected devices multiplies, so do the threats to security and privacy,” said Bob Egan, CEO of Sepharim Research Group. “Organizations need to rethink the way they approach security and transition from a reactive posture to one that is proactive and promises the greatest defence against sophisticated cyber attackers.”

The fail-then-patch approach to managing security risk has become a widely accepted practice, even as consumers and enterprises face mounting threats from cyber attackers. CHACE aims to reverse the current paradigm with the development of tools and techniques that deliver a far higher level of security protection than currently available.

“There’s a belief that the key to the world’s security issues is to patch faster, but this hamster wheel fails to address the root issue,” said David Kleidermacher, BlackBerry’s Chief Security Officer. “Systems that require regular patching always contain vulnerabilities unknown to developers, and some of these vulnerabilities are in fact known by would-be attackers.”

CHACE will collaborate with academic institutions and industry groups, including a healthcare community to address security and privacy concerns for next-generation wireless medical devices and applications.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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