Security isn’t a topic ignored by any sane smartphone manufacturer that wants to stay in business, but the features for reducing a handset’s hackability can end up either being decided for the user without any real control over settings, or all-or-nothing affairs where a given feature is either active or disabled. For the smartphone security aficionado who wants to control more than just whether a screen lock is set, the Blackphone may appeal.
As the brainchild of a collaboration between the Silent Circle secure communications specialists and Geeksphone handset manufacturers, the Blackphone aims to deliver unprecedented protection against digital nasties, coupled with detailed control of the device’s security settings.
From the moment it gets powered up it’s clear the Blackphone means business, with the immediate appearance of an on-screen message reminding the user of the device’s security-oriented raison d’être. Once past this punchy introduction a comfortably familiar yet highly customised adaptation of the Android Operating System appears, which has been aptly named PrivatOS.
Noteworthy features of this custom software include a Security Center, which allows for the visibility and control of the security privileges of individuals apps; a Smart Wi-Fi Manager, which only enables wireless functionality in the presence of trusted networks; frequent security updates received direct from Blackphone; and a suite of security enhancing apps, such as SpiderOak’s end-to-end encrypted cloud data storage service – complete with a 2-year subscription.