Blackphone users get a virtual privacy assistant

Silent Circle has pushed out a new version of Silent OS, the operating system running on Blackphone 2 devices, and it comes with several privacy and security enhancements, including a virtual privacy assistant.

From the users’ perspective, Privacy Meter and the Cellular Intrusion Detection System (CIDS), both incorporated in the phone’s Security Center, are a great addition.

Privacy Meter: a virtual privacy assistant

Privacy Meter runs in the background, continually checking and re-checking the device’s status and configuration, and pointing out to the users things that should be fixed if they want to preserve their privacy.

“Whether you have available software updates, your browsing certificates have been altered, or an app is sharing your location, the Privacy Meter will show you what is happening then guide you through the appropriate configurations, if desired,” explained David Puron, head of engineering at Silent Circle.

Cellular Intrusion Detection System (CIDS) aims to spot attacks that effect the smartphone cellular modem (i.e. the baseband) and its connection to the carrier cellular networks. Attacks such as network downgrades to weaker protocols, device tracking using silent SMSs, and so on.

The system can’t do anything about the attacks, but allows users to know about them and to choose whether or not they will continue to communicate via this network.

“We understand there are many types of attacks leveraging the baseband, so we will not say we will identify and catch them all,” Puron made sure to note. Nevertheless, a number of them will be spotted and flagged.

A third enhancement will mean more to IT managers of companies whose employees use the Blackphone, as they will now be able to deploy a Managed Space (a secured space dedicated just to work, with approved applications) to employees’ devices without any physical interaction.

As regards the new version of the OS (3.0), it is based on Android Marshmallow 6.0.1, complete with Google’s June security patch, and will be upgraded monthly with all the latest security fixes.

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