MWC: Hands on with security-centered Blackphone

Mobile World Congress's most secure smartphone debuts, stocked with heavyweight encryption and security features

As smartphones become ubiquitous, mobile security is a hot-button issue. People want to secure not just their devices, but everything they do with their devices. Enter the Blackphone, which is making its debut at Mobile World Congress. The video below demonstrates some of the features of the handset, which runs a security-enhanced version of Android called PrivatOS.

The basic phone functions -- voice calls and text messages -- are encrypted via Silent Circle Services apps, which are available for both iOS and Android (Blackphone has the apps pre-installed and configured). As long as both members of a voice or text conversation have the Silent Phone and/or Silent Text apps, the entire conversation is encrypted. The Blackphone also extends encryption to its 5GB of cloud storage.

But the real smartphone security threat is apps. Users often assume their apps are secure when, in fact, they access -- and leak -- tons of data. The Blackphone includes a security suite that shows users exactly what each of their apps is doing (revealing location info, personal info, and so on) and what each app is allowed to do (can it access a user's contact list, for example).

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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