updated 05:58 am EST, Thu February 27, 2014
Boeing Black wipes stored data if casing is opened
A smartphone designed to offer highly-secure communications and data storage for governments and enterprise users has been unveiled by Boeing. Initially revealed to be in development in April 2012, the Boeing Black is an Android smartphone that is claimed to be tamperproof, with any attempt to open the casing automatically resulting in the deletion of data stored on the device, ultimately making the entire smartphone unusable.
The base specifications list of the Boeing Black reads like a typical mid-range smartphone, with a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, LTE, USB, HDMI, Bluetooth, dual SIM card slots, and a 4.3-inch 960x540 display. The undisclosed onboard storage will be encrypted to protect data, with changes made to Android to securely boot the device and encrypt communications, among other software security policies. The product sheet also claims it has a modular expansion port on the rear, allowing organizations to add extra sensors or alternative functionality to the device, such as satellite connectivity.
An FCC filing spotted by Myce states that Boeing plans to market the device "in a manner such that low level technical and operational information about the product will not be provided to the general public," and that buyers will need to sign a Purchase Agreement an an attempt by Boeing to hide the device's workings further. It is noted that it is "manufactured as a sealed device both with epoxy around the casing and with screws, the heads of which are covered with a tamper-proof covering to identify attempted disassembly" and attempts to open it would render the device "inoperable," eliminating the possibility of someone physically bugging the device.
The self-destructing Boeing Black will certainly find a market with various government agencies, and will not be sold to civilians, but it is not the only security-minded device that launched this week. Silent Circle and Geeksphone's Blackphone made an appearance at Mobile World Congress, with a focus on offering peer-to-peer encrypted VoIP communications and other related services. Unlike Boeing's device, the Blackphone is being sold directly to the public.