Several European manufacturers spawn NSA-proof Android “cryptophones”


The NSA spy scandal caused an uproar in many countries, whose leaders' smartphones were being spied upon, most notably Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel. The intelligence scandal greatly increased the demand for encrypted mobile devices and communications in Europe. Many European political leaders will most probably ditch their high-end iOS and Android devices for a new breed of smartphones – the “cryptophones”.

One of the latest additions to the not so large list of “spy-proof” phones comes from France. At the beginning of October, Bull SA, a French security gear manufacturer, unveiled the Hoox m2, which is “a smartphone, designed for security”. The device is encrypted on both hardware and software levels. The $2760 smartphone includes biometric and logical authentication mechanisms. Bull SA states that the Hoox m2 strictly controls all of its communication features and includes a full system lock via the built-in biometric sensor. In case your Hoox m2 device falls into the wrong hands, the smartphone's built-in biometric sensors will lock it and only the owner will be able to reactivate it. The alleged “hacker-proof” device will run a re-engineered version of Android, which will encrypt all calls, SMS and e-mails. The hardware specs of the Hoox m2 are quite modest, as it comes with a 4.68-inch display, which has a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels, a 1.2GHz quad-core Cortex A5 processor and 1GB RAM. A 5MP camera can be found on its back.

"If you're not worried about sophisticated attacks, maybe a software solution is good enough for you," says Franck Greverie, head of Bull Security Solutions. That's exactly what another French contractor, Thales Group SA, offers - an enterprise security software for Android, called Teopad. It is based on the same technology, used in the company's military-grade Teorem phones, which are mostly used by French military personnel and high-ranking politicians. Thales SA states that the Teopad software will split your Anroid OS “in two” and create a dedicated professional workspace that is completely separate from the user's personal one. The dedicated workspace is encrypted and comes with strong authentication.

Germany has its own line of secure mobile phones, too. GSMK, a local manufacturer, has been selling its CryptoPhone line of smartphones for over a decade. The latest addition to the company's portfolio is the CryptoPhone 500, an Android-based device, which has been on the market for several months. The smartphone, which is based on the Samsung Galaxy S III, comes with a two-layer AES256 encryption, which offers secure messaging and voice over IP communication on any network (3G, GSM, UMTS/W-CDMA, Wireless LAN, etc.). GSMK's Galaxy S III CryptoPhone 500 also comes with baseband firewall, which allegedly provides 100% protection against over-the-air attacks. The hardware specs of the German smartphone are completely identical to the Galaxy S III, Samsung's flagship smartphone from 2012.






















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21 Comments

1. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Creepytoephone. :P

9. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

What the hell.. f*** you NSA... what you have done, now we have to think about something which sounds like coming from super man's planet....

2. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

That GS3=GermanSecurephone 3

3. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

I'm sure the FCC will not certify them to for some reason.

4. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Good thing the FCC is only for America and this article is about European cryptophones

5. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

If the Cryptophone uses the GS3, it will probably be allowed into the U.S. The larger concern is the reliance on AES256. Since NSA certified AES, there is probably a back door hack that NSA developed that opens the phone and its contents once the hack is applied.

12. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Indeed, such a missed opportunity to use PGP, which the NSA dreads.

7. mrblah

Posts: 577; Member since: Jan 22, 2013

I'm sure you can buy online.

6. applesucker

Posts: 81; Member since: Oct 29, 2013

android is far more secure than IOS.

8. mrblah

Posts: 577; Member since: Jan 22, 2013

Nope, you can install invisible apps on android very easily which can turn on your mic, open camera, and copy every button you push and you would never even know and just figure it's reg ol' Android lag. You can't do that on an iphone unless it jailbroke or if you're the NSA ANd have had access to the iphone first.

11. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Hints: -Stay out of suspicious websites, don't download suspicious content etc. Use only Google Play and really reliable sources on Android. -Use antivirus on your Android. Not 100% security quarantee, but helps still. -If you hate NSA, get one of these cryptophones, or just don't use smartphone -You can get malware on every phone. WP and iOS have less malware because less users and not being open-source, but they have it anyway.

13. rawbow

Posts: 428; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

less users on iOS.... really dude? lol

16. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Rawbow: iOS has less users than Android. Globally.

14. xfire99

Posts: 1207; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

Show me how u can easily do that, without turning on sideload 3rd party apps and this is same thing with jailbreak. Both are users choice to make. Android bases on open source, almost every code is open and can be view by all. If Google release all the codes and it will be even more secure, but doubt it will happen Unlike iOS, is closed and users wont know if theirs devices been infected or not. Malware have slipped through Appstore and Google Playstore before and nothing says it wont happen again.

15. JMartin22

Posts: 2387; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

This whole NSA incident has brought out the most paranoid people you'll see. And companies are banking off of this now lol. Laughable.

17. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Turns out the paranoids were right - the NSA has been vacuuming up data about each and everyone of us.

18. Teja171 unregistered

F*****g americans also know when we go to bathrooms,sleep,eat...

19. MyJobSux

Posts: 106; Member since: Apr 01, 2012

There are two sides to every coin. There is a privacy issue with the NSA scooping up all the data they can but when the data is used to find the bad guys it should be a comfort. What bothers me most are the people scooping up data with the intent of making money off of my identity or my financial assets (credit cards, bank accts, etc). One line from a movie, The Recruite, rings truer than you might think; "Our failures are known. Our successes...are not." When the government fails at something, it can be very obvious, when the succeed, we should not see a thing. There are mis-uses of powers but there are so many levels of technology now that the gray line has become more blurred and a lot broader for them, mainly becaues they decided to make it that way. Technology has gone social which makes data collection a LOT easier. I wish Google would quit trying to compete with Facebook and shut down Google+. Facebook will never be a mobile device powerhouse like Google is with Android. I think Google should concentrate on making Android secure and stop trying to share every last detail with everyone in our contacts list. If the government is scooping all my data and storing it in some secure server in a basement somewhere that will only be parsed and if it does come up, seen in a briefing, then so be it. Just as long as they dont go sharing it publicly I have some fraction of a warm fuzzy for that. There is no ideal amount of data that can be collected to make everyone happy. I just hope that the government is being a good stuard of the data they do collect because there are very few that can protect their data from them.

20. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

“It is the height of naivete to think that, once collected, this information won’t be used.” (Wolfgang Schmidt, former Stasi agent) And if you think that America is different, keep in mind the recent political use of the IRS against select opposing groups.

21. MyJobSux

Posts: 106; Member since: Apr 01, 2012

There is no doubt that some infomration will be used but the majority will be parsed and archived. Its been that way for longer than anyone realizes. The IRS was just one of the few caught in those types of actions. There are more out there who are doing the same, they just havnt had the whistle blown yet. There is a dark side of the American government or any government. Its become a necassery evil. I doubt that will ever change. Am I happy my data is being collected? No, im not. So what can I do? Well, I just try to monitor my usage of modern technology. But today, thats virtually impossible because so many things are interconnected.

22. CryptoSpecialists

Posts: 1; Member since: May 27, 2014

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