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Security Android Blackberry Cellphones Communications Encryption Handhelds Privacy

Silent Circle's Blackphone Exploited at Def Con 46

Posted by timothy
from the outharshing-one-another dept.
Def Con shows no mercy. As gleefully reported by sites several Blackberry-centric sites, researcher Justin Case yesterday demonstrated that he could root the much-heralded Blackphone in less than five minutes. From n4bb.com's linked report: "However, one of the vulnerabilities has already been patched and the other only exploitable with direct user consent. Nevertheless, this only further proves you cannot add layers of security on top of an underlying platform with security vulnerabilities." Case reacts via Twitter to the crowing: "Hey BlackBerry idiots, stop miss quoting me on your blogs. Your phone is only "secure" because it has few users and little value as a target."
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Silent Circle's Blackphone Exploited at Def Con

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  • by Kenja (541830) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @12:41PM (#47642575)
    It's inherent in how they work. Rather then trying to secure them, which I don't think can be done, just start assuming they are insecure and treat them as such. Don't hold a private, personal conversation in a crowded public room and don't send text messages you don't want other people to see.
  • by mrkoot (699253) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @01:29PM (#47642843)
    Silent Circle's response part 1 [medium.com]:

    Blackphone rooted at DefconâS -- Part 1

    Greetings from Def Con! Thus far Team Blackphone has been having a very positive Con. We have been receiving a lot of positive feedback and praise for taking on the flag of building and maintaining a secure and private smartphone system. This was a challenge that we knew full well would not be easy, but if it were easy then anyone could do it.

    The researcher @TeamAndIRC was a little miffed at our initial response to his inquiry and I understand his point. In response, he had a t-shirt made that stated he rooted the Blackphone at Def Con. The ironic part to this is I would have absolutely gone over and made that t-shirt for him myself once the full vulnerability was explained. @TeamAndIRC and I had a chat here at Def Con. 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.

    According to @TeamAndIRC there were three issues discovered. The first one is that he was able to get ADB turned on. Turning ADB on is not a vulnerability as this is part of the Android operating system. We turned ADB off because it causes a software bug and potentially impacts the user experience, a patch is forthcoming. His second discovery is accurate and here is the point I want to stress to the community. We found this vulnerability on July 30, had the patch in QA on July 31, and the OTA update released on August 1. That is pretty fast, no?

    When @TeamAndIRC details the third vulnerability today at Def Con around 2pm PST we will be on the floor. We will get the details, and feel confident that we will have the system patched just as fast as last time. That is our commitment to the community â" to close the threat window faster than any other OEM. So, for now stay tuned as we will have an update later today.

    Sincerely,

    Dan Ford, D.Sc. (@netsecrex)
    Chief Security Officer
    SGP Technologies

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