Backbytes: Unhackable Blackphone, err, hacked

By Backbytes
12 Aug 2014 View Comments
blackphone-demo

The man, the beard, the security expert Bruce Schneier has always pointed out that "defence" is a lot more difficult than "attack". That is to say, an "attacker" only needs to find and exploit one weak spot, while the "defender" needs to win every time he or she is attacked in order to stay secure.

So when a rinky-dink little company comes out with a phone that it claims to be completely secure, it only takes one little, itty-bitty flaw to make its claims look a little bit silly.

Further reading

The SGP Technologies' Blackphone had been billed as the most secure smartphone going - even better than BlackBerry, even though its PrivatOS is basically Android with security knobs on.

But at the DefCon hacking conference, one of a burgeoning number of summer security conferences, the Blackphone was comprehensively hacked with root access gained in five minutes flat. Not a good show for a "secure" smartphone that costs $829, including various security services for two years.

On the plus side, one of the flaws @TeamAndIRC hacked in their demo has been described as "innocuous", while the other SGP Technologies claims to have patched. So if you want to drop the best part of five hundred quid on a phone with fewer apps than a BlackBerry, knock yourself out.

However, successful hacks by the vast teams of malevolent demons employed by the NSA and GCHQ probably won't be so widely publicised.

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