BlackBerry is selling smart phones that used to only be available to government officials. The most secure mobile phone is created by the German company Secusmart GmbH, whose name was brought into the spotlight when they issued Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, a secure BlackBerry z10 after it was reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was listening in on her conversations. The company has begun to sell cryptophones, or encrypted phones. The phone encrypts phone calls to ward off unwanted listeners and BlackBerry is selling them for $2,700. The phone’s security is based on a micro SD card that holds private information, which they claim cannot be broken into by hackers if the phone is stolen. Last year, the company shipped more than 2,000 BlackBerry phones with the card to German authorities and ships phones to government officials in South America, northern Europe and the Middle East.
Hans-Christoph Quelle, the Chief Executive Officer of Secusmart, said that the largest challenge for the phone was to protect a user’s phone calls and the data they transferred without making the device too difficult for consumers to use. The device’s maker had to be heavily involved in the design of the device so it was more convenient and did not require the user to switch between safe and unsafe sections of the phone. Quelle also said that voice encryption used to be used by a small group that included only intelligent services. He continued by saying that the group is now widening. Secusmart wants to look at selling the phone to private customers and companies this year.
BlackBerry might be getting some competition for their most secure phone from another German company selling a similar product. The largest phone company in Germany called Deutsche Telekom AG is joining the security trend when they introduced a mobile phone application to companies at CeBit or Centrum für Büroautomation, Informationstechnologie, und Telekommunikation (Center for Office Automation, Information Technology, and Telecommunication) that adds a level of security to a person’s phone calls. Deutsche Telekom AG created the application with the cryptophone maker based in Berlin, GSMK. Last week, the mobile phone Blackphone was shown by Geekphone SL and Silent Circle LLC. Hoox m2 is another cryptophone created by Bull SA, a company that makes software and technology that is used by sensitive industries and the military. The phone offers secure email and Internet browsing and users could buy the phone beginning in January for 200 euros. Franck Greverie, the executive vice president of security solutions for Bull said Hoox m2 is being sold to financial companies, law firms, governmental agencies and large enterprises, especially ones that have teams involved in international activities.
People are beginning to become concerned about security when it comes to their mobile phone. BlackBerry is offering a higher level of security by selling the most secure mobile phone, the cryptophone. The encrypted phones are created by Secusmart GmbH and can encrypt phone calls. Quelle explained that the company made the modified phones while cooperating with BlackBerry. BlackBerry saw Secusmart phones, he explained, as a way to get business and government officials to continue using BlackBerry products. He told Bloomberg that they were helped by the fact that BlackBerry was not doing well in recent years. The company hopes to sell their encrypted phones to law firms, banks and other companies that are worried about their calls being monitored.
By Jordan Bonte