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Mobile Security's Stature Increases As RIM Acquires Certicom
Swee Won Lo  Mail to Swee Won Lo Date : 2009-3-03 PM 09:12, Hit : 3674  
Research In Motion, RIM, is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market (Source).

In an article reported by Paul Korzeniowski in bMighty.com, RIM has acquired the mobile encryption supplier Certicom.

The company Certicom is founded in 1985 by Dr. Scott Vanstone, a world-renowned researcher, author and professor of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. Certicom is regarded as the undisputed leader in Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) today and its technology is used by the U.S. government for secure communications. (Source)

The first bid of acquisition from RIM to Certicom was in December 2008, where a bid of $52 million was proposed. However, following a competition from VeriSign (a bid of $72 million), RIM doubled its offer to $106.5 million in February 2009 and was then accepted by Certicom.

By acquiring the mobile encryption supplier Certicom, RIM can bolster the security features on their BlackBerry. High level of security for sending wireless messages (which is greatly appealing to business users) has been one reason that RIM's BlackBerry is much popular than fellow competitive products. The strong security functions stemmed from the handset's support for Certicom's ECC, a public key infrastructure cryptography mechanism.

This move by RIM underscores the importance of security in mobile computing - Smartphones are evolving and gaining more power and becoming more functional. They are being used to collect and store sensitive corporate data and sooner to come, these devices can even be transformed into portable wallets.

Eversince Certicom integrated the use of ECC technology, it has been employed in a wide variety of devices including IBM, Motorola, Oracle and Qualcomm. By gaining control of Certicom, RIM can further bolster the security features on its handsets. It could be difficult for competitors to match such functionality.
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