Financial News

  • 27 February 2014, 6:55

Blackphone Promises Super Security And Privacy

A new Android phone promising "security provided by the world's leading experts" has been unveiled.

Blackphone comes from cryptographer Phil Zimmerman, whose company Silent Circle has joined forces with Spanish smartphone company Geeksphone for the project.

The $629 (£377) "sleek and slender" handset goes on sale in June and has been launched at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain.

It has a 4.7 inch, high-definition screen, and uses Silent Circle's Private OS version of Android, offering anonymous search and remote data wiping, private calls, texting and file exchange.

On the Blackphone website, users are promised they will be able to "choose what to reveal, when and to whom" and "world class cryptography built-in every Blackphone app".

It comes at a time when Smartphone security firms are reporting a surge in demand following NSA contractor Edward Snowden's revelations of US and British spying activities.

However, the privacy protector device does not claim to be "NSA-proof".

"The Snowden disclosures have certainly raised awareness about some of these issues," Mr Zimmerman told a news conference at the mobile phone show.

"I think what we have seen is that there is a heightened sensitivity to the implications of what a loss of privacy can mean.

"Just to be clear, we have never claimed that we are offering an NSA-proof device and we will not make such a claim. It would be, perhaps, foolhardy.

"But we are offering a tool that makes a huge difference to somebody who is currently using no privacy tools at all."

The growth of Android applications provides an open doorway to hackers because the devices have access to the internet, a camera, sound and even systems.

Con Mallon, head of mobile products at security software group Symantec, said: "For attackers, it is a business. With the decline of PC, they are looking at how they can make money with smartphones and tablets.

"The threats that are moving from the desktop to mobile are not new, but the context is new."

Symantec estimates the number of viruses detected quadrupled in a year to 273,000 in June 2013 on the Android platform.

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