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Silent Circle's Blackphone Exploited at Def Con 46

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 bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Sunday August 10, 2014 @12:39PM (#47642307) Homepage Journal

    Blackphone is the "you can't look at it, but trust us" self-proclaimed "security" company, right? And it's easily exploitable?

    Dog-bites-man story.

  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @01:47PM (#47642613) Homepage

    Physical access to any electronic device is basically an avenue for compromise. You really can't avoid it - at that point, it's no longer a question of "is the device secure?" as "is is STILL secure"... the only factors are how long it's out of your possession and how many obstacles are in the way of compromising it.

    Same as anything with computers - physical access to the machine means it's game over. This applies for everything from games consoles to dvd players to phones to DRM schemes to "secure boot".

    Physical access is game over. If you're lucky, you've used perfect forward secrecy and implemented it perfectly and know the device is missing and immediately blacklist it from your systems. Anything else (like real-life) is a security hole.

  • by AchilleTalon ( 540925 ) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @01:51PM (#47642633) Homepage

    Blackphone is not a BlackBerry phone, it is a competitor. That's why BB fans quoted Justin Case as if he did prove BB is superior to Blackphone, which isn't what he proved. BlackBerry's CEO claimed the Blackphone was only consumer-grade privacy, not business grade privacy, implying BB products are superior in terms of security. Which Justin Case doesn't agree claiming they appear safer only because they are a low interest traget to hackers.

    To summarise, it is not about underlying BB platform at all, rather than about the Blackphone underlying platform.

  • by chihowa ( 366380 ) * on Sunday August 10, 2014 @01:56PM (#47642647)

    It's one reason why I can't rally behind Phil Zimmerman, as much as I like PGP and appreciate much of what he's done. His insistence on keeping security software secretive and closed source, while seeming to understand the concept of trust, is baffling.

  • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @07:09PM (#47644033)

    Not clear if Case is claiming Blackberry's were never of interest to hackers or are just of no interest lately.

    Blackberrys were until recent years very high value targets, they were the phone of choice on Wall Street, for politicians and reporters.

    It wasn't that long ago repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia were telling Blackberry to back door their phones/servers or get locked out of their market which tends to suggest they must have been pretty good at something.

    There is probably something to be said for phones without a third party app market if security is job one. Android in particular is a pretty juicy target for malware.

Reactor error - core dumped!