The OS will give an app just the permissions needed to access necessary functions and data. All other assets in a system are off limits, which should minimize the amount of tampering that malware can do. As each app is started up, it also is scanned to ensure it hasn't been changed.
"The layers of security are so extreme, I don't think anyone else is touching this," said Dan Dodge, BlackBerry CEO of QNX, the BlackBerry OS.
One satisfied user has been the New York law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, which uses about 1,000 BlackBerry devices. The company is routinely audited by its corporate clients, which have strict compliance rules on securing data.
BlackBerry eases this compliance checking process quite a bit. "There is not another manufacturer or developer that has achieved this level of security," said Peter Lesser, Skadden's director of global technology.
"BlackBerry is the undisputed gold standard from the security standpoint," Lesser said.
Stacy Crook, an IDC researcher for mobile security attending the event, said that the direction for offering end-to-end security through combined hardware and software is a good step for BlackBerry, though questions remain about the extent that they can secure other platforms, such as Apple's and Google's, with this approach.