FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard), publication 140-2 (referred to as FIPS 140-2) is a security standard used to certify cryptographic modules used in computer equipment. It is administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US, and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) in Canada. Without this accreditation, such equipment may not be used by US, Canadian, or other government agencies that recognize the standard. The standard requires a regimen of testing to ensure the cryptographic modules, and the underlying algorithms, are validated against attempts to exploit weaknesses in the design or in the algorithms themselves.
The certification means that data stored on the equipment can be properly secured and encrypted. RIM’s line of BlackBerry devices used to be the pioneer in this arena, but has since been seeing elements of its anchor customer give up on the platform in favor of iOS. The Department of Defense is drawing up plans to open its infrastructure to accommodate more than the venerable BlackBerry as well.
Fortunately for RIM, having this certification taken care of means one less thing to worry about, and now it can concentrate on ensuring a smooth evaluation as its new platform undergoes carrier testing. RIM promises that the BlackBerry 10 experience will be a game changer.
source: Research in Motion