Smartphone users who value their privacy and sensitive information have a new “black” phone to choose from beginning today, but it won’t come cheap.
Android security issues and the Blackphone 2
Google has had its fair share of security problems in 2015, in fact, the company’s Android OS has had a pretty rough summer all said and done. In August, the company reported that hackers had found a vulnerability in its Stagefright media tool that left close to a billion devices running Android vulnerable to attack with nothing more than a simple text message. Fast forward to this month where Google announced that Chinese hackers had successfully infected thousands of users’ phones through its own Google Play store.
Silent circle, the makers of the Blackphone and Blackphone 2, doesn’t think this should be the case and has released the second of its phones to clamp down on the inherent problems in the Android OS with regards to security.
Privacy and ease of use at the same time
One could certainly argue that with heightened security one loses functionality if not fun. However, the Blackphone 2 seems to have solved this conundrum. The Silent OS that is stock in the Blackphone 2 works off a modified version of Android 5.1 that allows the user to control the permissions for each and every installed application. What’s more, the Silent OS allows users to pick and choose an apps security settings rather than simply accepting all that the app wishes to access.
Additionally, the Blackphone’s OS allows users to set up “spaces” in which to place apps with different levels of security. A space with your work emails could allow zero sharing and require a PIN for nearly every action while your “Facebook space” could be allowed to share photos and whatever else you’ve allowed it to access.
Additional Blackphone 2 security features
The Blackphone, somewhat surprisingly, doesn’t have any biometric security options but does have enhanced PIN features that make the device safer.
One of the more impressive security features is its Smarter Wi-Fi which stops broadcasting Wi-Fi SSID location information based on a user’s preferences which makes life mapping nearly impossible for a hacker.
The Blackphone 2 also features something called Silent Phone which encrypts texts and calls between two Blackphone users end-to-end, or provides a safe bridge if only one is using a Blackphone.
All about the price tag
The Blackphone 2, by all accounts I’ve read, is a wonderful, fast and sleek machine. The problem is its price tag of $799. Users will simply need to decide if its security is worth that amount of money.