BlackBerry Tablet OS security architecture

The BlackBerry Tablet OS is a microkernel operating system. Microkernel operating systems implement the minimum amount of software in the kernel space to manage access to basic computing functions such as CPU access, memory management, and so on. Higher-level system services, such as socket communication and device drivers, run in the user space. By running higher-level services in the user space, the BlackBerry Tablet OS can manage processes in isolation from each other. This helps prevent damage to the kernel and other applications.

The microkernel architecture of the BlackBerry Tablet OS enables the following features:

  • The BlackBerry Tablet OS is designed to be tamper resistant. The kernel performs an integrity test when the OS starts. If the integrity test reveals damage to the kernel, the BlackBerry Tablet OS does not start.
  • The BlackBerry Tablet OS is designed to be resilient. The kernel can restart a process without negatively affecting other processes. All applications run in the user space.
  • The BlackBerry Tablet OS is designed to be highly secure. The kernel validates requests for system resources. An authorization manager evaluates requests from applications to access the capabilities of the BlackBerry tablet. For example, when an application requests access to the camera, the authorization manager displays a dialog box that specifies the capability requested, and gives the user the opportunity to grant or refuse access to that capability.

The BlackBerry Tablet OS is designed to verify the authenticity of an application. All applications that run on a BlackBerry tablet must be signed by the RIM Signing Authority and a Developer Certificate. For more information about accessing the RIM Signing Authority, see Signing your application.