Recently we read about the Blackphone, a super secure smartphone designed by SGP Technologies, a joint venture between Silent Circle and Spanish Geekphone, which is able to avoid surveillance of the NSA. The designer of Blackphone defined it as the “world’s first Smartphone which places privacy and control directly in the hands of its users,”.
Security expert Jon Sawyer (@TeamAndIRC), CTO of Applied Cybersecurity, at the recent DEF CON hacker conference demonstrated that Blackphone is vulnerable, they have rooted the super smartphone in just 5 minutes. The security researcher took 5 minutes to root the device without unlocking the device’ bootloader.
The principal problem is that the researcher didn’t know to have tested a phone with old firmware and that the designers of Blackphone had already patched one of the vulnerabilities and pushed out the update.
Blackphone is based on a customized version of Android dubbed PrivatOS which comes with pre-installed privacy-enabled applications. The Blackphone was criticized by some security experts which consider the mobile phone only a container of privacy tools, that anyway runs on Android OS.
@TeamAndIRC described three ways to hack the Blackphone:
Later the researcher noticed later that the first of the above hacks was conducted on an unpatched version of Android, meanwhile the second attack required user interaction.
Dan Ford, chief security officer at SGP Technologies, explained that the debugging attack is not a vulnerability as the Android Debugging Bridge is a part of Android itself.
“We turned ADB off because it causes a software bug and potentially impacts the user experience, a patch is forthcoming,” “I would like to thank him for not blowing the issue out of proportion and going back to the twittersphere for a little more transparency by explaining that direct user interaction is required and that we had already patched one of the vulnerabilities through the OTA update.” Ford says in a blog post.
It’s my opinion that the perfect software doesn’t exist, bugs are everywhere, let’s think to the recent flaw in Tor and in Tails like distribution, I have appreciated how Blackphone team managed the news and promptly identified and fixed the alleged flaws.
(Security Affairs – Blackphone, hacking)