Another Playbook UI Fail

Over the past years, one of the things I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time researching and writing about has been security certificates and data transport security. This is just to say: I spend time in security and know more than a lot of non-technical people.

I have no clue what the fuck this message in the Kobo application for the BlackBerry PlayBook is doing here.

To be specific: I opened the app in a wifi-dead area that was dead in the middle of no where. There was no cell service. I checked with packet sniffing applications on my computer, there were no adhoc or other wireless networks. This kind of a warning indicates that some third-party was trying to intercept encrypted messaging traffic that was destined to Kobo’s servers but gives no indication of how or why this certificate problem was raised. In effect, it’s a warning “shit’s gone back, son!” without say “because X just happened!”

Security – on all devices – should be transparent to the user. The warning above (which I’ve seen in other PlayBook apps) is useless to the end-user because it gives no guidance as to what just happened, how to address it, or even how to learn more about the issue. While I commend RIM for making certificate errors so front and centre, presenting highly technical security information to the end-user is garbage unless you also inform them what the hell just happened.

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