July 29, 2014 9:25 am

BlackBerry acquires anti-eavesdropping firm SecuSmart

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette, File

WATERLOO, Ont. – BlackBerry has bought German anti-eavesdropping firm SecuSmart in a move to bulk up its security assets.

The company did not disclose the financial details of the agreement, which was announced at a security-themed event held in New York.

Chief executive John Chen says buying the company will address growing concerns about threats to individual privacy and national security.

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“We are always improving our security solutions to keep up with the growing complexity of enterprise mobility, with devices being used for more critical tasks and to store more critical information, and security attacks becoming more sophisticated,” Chen said Tuesday in a news release.

SecuSmart provides high-level voice and data encryption for governments, businesses and telecommunications service providers.

The acquisition still faces some conditions, including regulatory approval, said BlackBerry (TSX:BB).

BlackBerry has previously worked with SecuSmart to develop special technology for phones that were distributed to several German government agencies, as well as German government ministries and leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“We see significant opportunities to introduce Secusmart’s solutions to more of BlackBerry’s government and enterprise customers around the world,” said Secusmart managing director Hans-Christoph Quelle.

The acquisition is the latest move from Chen, who was hired last year to reshape BlackBerry, cut costs and lead an effort to find a better footing in the highly competitive tech sector.

Since joining the company in November, Chen has hired several executives from software maker Sybase, a struggling company he helped reshape into a profitable operation focused on mobile business technology.

Shares of BlackBerry rose 10 cents to $10.85 shortly after open on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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