BlackBerry has announced that it will be shutting down their hardware division as of October 1. BlackBerry also reported another loss of earnings in the amount of $372 million this quarter. Moving forward BlackBerry CEO said the company will shift its focus to software that makes smartphones smart.
So, what does this mean to a BlackBerry user? Wait, do BlackBerry users still exist? There are in fact still BlackBerry users living in the world today, while they may be few, they are loyal. I myself am a loyal BlackBerry user, operating the Priv – which to be perfectly honest, is a great phone.
At the end of the day, BlackBerry deciding to shut its hardware division doesn’t really mean much to a BlackBerry user. In all likelihood, it will mean the BlackBerry brand will strengthen and the company itself might see some meaningful growth. BlackBerry CEO has said that it plans to outsource the function of hardware development to external partners, while BlackBerry itself will focus on the software that actually goes into the phone – these outsourced phones will carry the BlackBerry TM and brand. This is a decision in my opinion that is coming a little late but has the potential to turn BlackBerry’s fortunes around. From a user standpoint, this means that we will get a better quality phone, in terms of hardware and the physical casings, while the software will continue to be the secure, business orientated model many of us have come to enjoy.
In a testament to this BlackBerry has passed their upcoming phone, the DTEK60, through the FCC. And if the phone lives up to the specs that were released (which I believe it will), not only will it be significantly better than the DTEK50 but it will be a solid smartphone all around. The phone will reportedly host a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Processor, 4GB of Ram, 5.5” QHD Screen, 21MP rear camera, 8MP front-f camera, and a fingerprint sensor. That is, in my opinion, better than the Nexus 6P. Unfortunately, by outsourcing the hardware development of BlackBerry, the trademark physical keyboard will likely be a thing of the past.
Evidently, I think the decision to cease hardware operations and outsource the hardware development to external players, while focusing on the software and BlackBerry brand will ultimately, work out on both the companies favor and us hardcore BlackBerry users.
GASP! Shocking news (not) from Yahoo that there has been a massive data breach, with over 200 million user passwords and other personal information being sold on the ‘dark web’. Before I go into the things you should do in the event you are affected, or even if you think you are – I think this would be a good time for me to say (write) these three words, ‘ZERO-KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS’, they are out there, they do exist and they are worth it.
Now, with that out of the way, there are some things you should do immediately if you feel you have been compromised.
Now, most security experts and Yahoo itself will tell you to sign up for two-factor authentication as it adds a layer of protection to your login process. However, I do not use two-factor authentication, if it requires sending an SMS to my phone. Mobile devices are inherently insecure and can be “socially engineered out of your control”, SMS messages, in particular, are especially vulnerable. For this reason, I personally would say no to two-factor authentication IF it is provided through your mobile network. I am sure some will say that is bad advice, but I cannot I really care – I am speaking from experience here. There are other two-factor authentication types, for example, an RSA token, that doesn’t require communication between two computers. It is far more effective and secure – although it is also less convenient which is why it is not instituted by corporate companies.
Again, let me just say that Zero-Knowledge Systems are the way to go that offer end to end encryption. If Yahoo offered that with the email services 200 million people wouldn’t have had their personal data stolen. On that note, if you are interested in using a Zero-Knowledge System email I would personally recommend Tutanota.