Blackphone 2

Unofficial Blackphones are being remotely bricked

It has emerged that unofficial Blackphone 2 handsets are being deactivated via a new software update. The devices are being disabled with the release of Silent OS 3.0.8.

The Blackphone 2 is designed to be a secure device, and Silent OS – an operating system based on Android – has been developed specifically to keep customer data safe.

Silent Circle, which is the company behind the Blackphone 2, has confirmed that it is carrying out the deactivations. In a statement, Blair Young, vice president of product management, said:

“Silent Circle is aware that unauthorised devices have been manufactured as Blackphones and we’re working aggressively to stop the sale of those. As we’ve counselled, it’s imperative for consumers and companies to work directly with authorised sales partners when purchasing the Blackphone 2.”

Young also advised potential purchasers of Blackphone handsets to check with Silent Circle first, to ensure they are buying an authorised device.

The trouble appears to stem from smartphones that have been developed by third parties but had Silent OS installed onto them. These devices are typically sold on eBay.

Consumers who have purchased unofficial Blackphone 2 handsets will obviously be left hugely frustrated by the deactivation of their hardware.

In the relatively brief statement issued by Silent Circle, Young did not provide a detailed explanation of the company’s actions.

However, an issue with unofficial outlets is the potential for a reseller to install a backdoor, which would defeat the purpose of a secure OS and result in negative publicity for Silent Circle.

[via Ars Technica]