Privacy-Focused Blackphone Hacked in Minutes at Def Con Conference

By Gerald Lynch on at

It's been pitched as the most secure smartphone available. But the Blackphone's security features crumbled at the hands of hackers at the Def Con security conference, who managed to gain root access without unlocking the handset's bootloader in around five minutes.

@TeamAndIRC were the group that managed to compromise the phone, which has had its credentials questioned in the past for simply laying the PrivatOS skin over Android than building a bespoke OS. It's meant to offer professional-level data protection from third-party infringement -- the sort thing that (you'd hope) MI5 or the FBI have on their agents' phones. It's been called "NSA-proofed" by the media (though the BlackPhone team has distanced itself from this accolade), and was born from the fires of the Edward Snowden snooping revelations. But that doesn't seem to have caused the hackers many problems.

Blackphone makers already patched Geeksphone and Silent Circle have already patched one exploit that made the hack possible, while the other, in fairness, requires consent from the device owner before it can be harnessed. But it's still not the best endorsement of what's supposed to be the smartphone's key feature. [Phone Arena]