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BlackBerry said on Sunday it plans to release security updates for messaging software for Android and iOS devices by Friday, to address vulnerabilities in programs related to the "Heartbleed" security threat.

Researchers last week warned that they had uncovered Heartbleed, a bug that targets the OpenSSL software commonly used to keep data secure and potentially allows hackers to steal massive troves of information without leaving a trace.

On Friday, the White House and US intelligence agencies said neither the National Security Agency nor any other part of the government were aware before this month of the bug, denying a Bloomberg report that the spy agency exploited it to gather intelligence.

Security experts initially told companies to focus on securing vulnerable websites, but have since warned about threats to technology used in data centres and on mobile devices running Google's Android software and Apple's iOS. 

Scott Totzke, BlackBerry senior vice president, told Reuters on Sunday that while the bulk of BlackBerry products do not use the vulnerable software, the company does need to update two widely used products: Secure Work Space corporate email and BBM messaging for Android and iOS.

He said they would be vulnerable to attacks by hackers if they gain access to those apps through either WiFi connections or carrier networks.

Still, he said, "the level of risk here is extremely small", because BlackBerry's security technology would make it difficult for a hacker to succeed in gaining data through an attack. 

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