Dubbed Blackphone, and featured in the video above, the handset runs a hardened version of Android called PrivatOS that has been developed by Phil Zimmermann and Jon Callas, formerly of PGP. The mobe can make standard phone calls, but will include Silent Circle's apps to encrypt messages and voice and video chat, plus secure file sharing and anonymized VPN sessions.
Although weaknesses in one pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) at the heart of a US National Security Agency (NSA) scandal have been known for years, recent media attention has given light to proof-of-concept code.
There has been a lot of news lately about nefarious-sounding backdoors being inserted into cryptographic standards and toolkits. One algorithm, a pseudo-random bit generator, Dual_EC_DRBG, was ratified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2007 and is attracting a lot of attention for having a potential backdoor. This is the algorithm that the NSA reportedly paid RSA $10 million in exchange for making it the default way for its BSAFE crypto toolkit to generated random numbers.
Computer scientists have devised an attack that reliably extracts secret cryptographic keys by capturing the high-pitched sounds coming from a computer while it displays an encrypted message.
Tim Berners-Lee is known as the gentle genius with the mild touch, a man who is strikingly modest despite having created one of the epochal inventions of the modern age, the world wide web. But get him on the subject of what the National Security Agency and its British equivalent, GCHQ, have been doing to crack encryption used by hundreds of millions of people to protect their personal data online, and his face hardens, his eyes squint and he fumes.