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Blackberry Canada Cellphones Communications Encryption Privacy

Boeing and BlackBerry Making a Self-Destructing Phone 75

Rambo Tribble writes: It sounds like a Mission: Impossible scenario, but aerospace company Boeing is teaming with Canadian phone maker BlackBerry to produce an ultra-secure mobile phone that "self-destructs." The phone uses encryption on calls and is intended to serve the high-security needs of government and industry. As Blackberry CEO John Chen said, "We're pleased to announce that Boeing is collaborating with BlackBerry to provide a secure mobile solution for Android devices utilizing our BES 12 platform. That, by the way, is all they allow me to say."

No word yet if you'll need the services of the bomb squad when you go over your minutes.
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Boeing and BlackBerry Making a Self-Destructing Phone

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  • by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Saturday December 20, 2014 @01:49PM (#48641877)
    Cue in the comments on how that security feature is not completely perfect, so therefore it has to be completely useless.
    • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Saturday December 20, 2014 @02:26PM (#48642043)

      Cue in the comments on how that security feature is not completely perfect, so therefore it has to be completely useless.

      You mean like the fact that Boeing already works very closely with the CIA/NSA and therefor this thing is 100% guaranteed to have a government backdoor per-installed AND the purchase of such a phone would automatically put on a watch list that would result in pretty much all of your traffic getting logged anyway?

      Not perfect... more like, this phone likely does exactly the opposite of what it advertises.

      • this thing is 100% guaranteed to have a government backdoor per-installed AND the purchase of such a phone would automatically put on a watch list

        The target market for this phone is government employees and defense contractors, not drug dealers and terrorists.

    • I'm more curious how superior this is to using a burner phone.

    • For almost any use you might have the biggest threat to the security is going to be all the ways that your communications can be compromised while you are actually using it. Baseband exploits, protocol exploits, software vulnerabilities, poor or crippled RNGs, compromised platform or application updates, cloud storage of sensitive information, etc. etc. the list goes on.

      Oh what? It can self destruct? It's probably way too late by then, and assuming it's been compromised the attackers would probably rather y

    • it's a self-destructing company!

    • It is with BlackBerry. Their cell phones are totally unusable when the keyboard fails. It's a security feature!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    1. Entire source code is open source so that it can be audited by independent researchers

    2. It doesn't run anything that talks to any fancy cloud services, which means no Google

    3. Good thing Boeing is in on it. Mentioning a self destructing device in your pocket to TSA could be a bad idea..

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      Maybe it just lets the magic smoke out of the storage and ram chips.

      • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

        They've been working on it for over 12 years; I wrote the following for my web site in 2002. It will be in an upcoming book. Apologies for the mangled unicode, but slashdot's preview is worthless, since "preview" shows the unicode but the submission displays garbage. Here is the article:

        McCoy: He's dead, Jim
        Several years ago, before PCs were not nearly as com-mon in the home as they are now, a friend of mine asked of my computer, âoebut aren't you afraid it will explode?

      • lets the magic smoke out of the storage and ram chips

        You had the same electronics theory professor I did!

  • This comes with built in NSA backdoor?
  • Just put Sony batteries in them.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is a great idea, actually.

    In fact, I would take it a step further. If a mobile phone you value is stolen, for example, or taken into custody against your will, having it self-destruct upon tampering is one thing. What if not tampering is done, or too many false PIN attempts? Why not also have logic onboard that says "if my master has not used me or texted me a certain code in such a time, I'll self-destruct also". This would prevent someone from holding onto your phone and simply copying the data from

    • or too many false PIN attempts?

      So some joker in your office can destroy your phone in a couple of minutes while you're in the washroom? That's pretty insecure.

  • by TraumaHound ( 30184 ) on Saturday December 20, 2014 @02:11PM (#48641979)

    I expect big things, Blackberry have been world leaders in self destruction for the past eight years.

  • by maliqua ( 1316471 ) on Saturday December 20, 2014 @02:16PM (#48641999)

    They've been making self destructing phones for quite some time now.

    But the addition of a feature that allows you to control when and why it self destructs will be a huge improvement.

  • I've gotten a chance to try out a few friends' work-issued Blackberrys in the smartphone era, and I've got to say, a convenient way to destroy the thing entirely sounds like the most useful feature RIM has added in a long time.
  • Is this the same phone that was talked about in February [slashdot.org]?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Of course, it was unintentional.

  • Ought to be easy to do. Israelis figured this out a long time ago.

    Of course there is a downside, if you are holding it and

  • The self-destruct feature should have been included in every plane, tank, APC, rocket launcher, mortar, rifle, and any other weapons we have been selling to unstable, neurotic dictators in the middle east for decades. Set up to be remotely activated by the U.S., of course. Instead, we have our troops facing down our own weapons.
    • Don't worry, they've thought about that. Most modern high performance weapons need maintenance and spare parts. Get on our shit list, no maintenance and no spare parts. It's either us or the Israelis (who somehow manage to manufacture high performance US weapon systems in their entirety).

      Ask the Iranians. Their 'modern' Air Force has lots and lots of hanger queens. They've gone to making model RC planes since that is the best they can do on their own.

  • So the cops pull you over, and as they are now allowed, they start poking around your phone. It clears itself.
    You are going to have some nice vacation time.

  • Is an iPhone case made out of C4, that would detonate whenever the device is placed in Lost Mode. You use Find My Phone to track it when it goes missing, and if you see it floating around in the ghetto, you activate Lost Mode. Kaboom!

  • by Pope Hagbard ( 3897945 ) on Saturday December 20, 2014 @02:56PM (#48642157) Journal

    30 comments and all but one or two are brain-dead stupid. What happened to the intelligent posters? Slashdot used to be known for having pretty intelligent discussion.

  • The phone uses encryption on calls and is intended to serve the high-security needs of government and industry.

    As opposed to the security needs of consumers, which are obviously non-existent. No doubt it will come with a CALEA exemption, because Boeing. (Watch for a one sentence rider inserted into an otherwise totally unrelated bill some time in 2017.) Of course they will be absurdly expensive, but the Citizens who possess them will easily be able to afford them. If you can't pay, you definitely don't deserve security. But you can't have one unless you are on The List anyway. After all, they're CALEA exempt.

  • Finally I'll be able to get that o-bomb-a-phone that they're always talkin' 'bout on the talky radio.
  • So will a voice announce the 5 second warning with the Mission Impossible theme song?

  • As long as they're giving extra oomph to the CA compliant remote kill switch, perhaps an exploding dye pack, too.
  • Considering Blackberry has almost self-destructed itself, there is no doubt it is the best qualified company to develop such smartphone.
  • The real question isn't will it self-destruct.
    Slashdotters want to know - WILL IT BEND :-)
  • I see this as situational. Does one need to Destroy "Just" the Data or is rendering the device itself- forever/irrecoverably DEAD a pass/fail element? Let's skip that Fail-Safe for Destroy Device aspect for a moment- and go back to Data alone. Consider an app level tool to lower Data In-or-Out risks... with simple Ramdisk tech.. IF that level of security is Good Enough, all we're left with is risk-reward calcs on LN2 attacks in the REAL world.
  • Hilarious that Boeing would want a self-destructing phone, because a phone that blows up would be the perfect thing to have on an aircraft!

    At least, it will raise the sales of Boeing as airlines replace planes that blow up!

    Just kidding! Obviously the phone won't physically blow up.

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